Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hiking Xuanwu Lake

Student blogger Emily Rivera, HNC Certificate ’18, writes about her experience hiking around Xuanwu Lake with a local hiking group: 南京徒步爱好群.

Pictured with the hiking group: 南京徒步爱好群.
Before coming to Nanjing, I had an image in my head of what I thought the city might be like. I had studied the history of China and I knew where to find Nanjing on a map, but as the date of my arrival to Nanjing grew closer, I realized I knew very little of the city I would call home for the year. So, I took to the Internet to learn more about Nanjing. During my searches, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that by 2018, as part of a larger project to fight pollution in cities in China, construction on two skyscrapers called the Nanjing Green Towers will be complete.  (Read more about this here).
Another group photo right before breaking for lunch

Nanjing presents a unique opportunity to live in a city surrounded by natural beauty, such as the famous Purple Mountain and Xuanwu Lake. Several weekends ago, my friend found a Chinese hiking group called南京徒步爱好群 on China’s equivalent of a Meetup Group app and we decided to join them for a hike. We woke up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday and one hour later, found ourselves at Xuanwu Lake meeting the hiking group for the first time.

Conveniently, Xuanwu Lake is about a twenty-minute walk from the HNC campus. My friends and I have hiked around Xuanwu Lake before, for example, when we completed the Nanjing Walk Marathon earlier in the year and when various friends and relatives have come to visit. Located in the heart of Nanjing and partially surrounded by the City Wall of Nanjing, Xuanwu Lake is the perfect getaway to enjoy a peaceful afternoon of running, walking, riding a bike, or even taking a boat around the beautiful lake.

First-year HNC Certificate students, Kimya Nia (’18), Taylor Roth (’18), and Emily Rivera (’18), with new friends from the hiking group

The morning of our hike was especially beautiful. It was right around when the Fall weather started coming in, which meant the best hiking weather one could ask for – not too cold, not too hot. I’ve experienced Fall and the changing of the leaves before, but there was something particularly exciting about being surrounded by Xuanwu Lake, on our way to meet new hiking friends, all the while making our way to our final destination: the picturesque Purple Mountain.

First-year HNC Certificate student Taylor Roth (’18) takes a photo of the changing tree leaves around Xuanwu Lake

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the one leaders of the group, 静翕, who was excited to have us join her and the rest of the group on their hike of the week. That’s right, this group hikes around Nanjing every weekend! Although the majority of them grew up in Nanjing, they told us it’s important to them to get outside and enjoy the beautiful sights that Nanjing offers. While people drift both in and out of the hikes and the group, the two main leaders told us they make sure to hike every single weekend without fail.

Xuanwu Lake is an example of one hiking option in Nanjing, among others. Although HNC students are constantly busy with classes, papers, and presentations, we still find time to explore the beautiful city of Nanjing and enjoy the nice weather whenever possible!

Written by Emily Rivera, Certificate '18