Night hike: A new lifestyle in South West China

CNC report from Beijing
Added On August 23, 2013

Have you ever tried to walk more than 10 kilometers in a city in temperatures up to 40 degree Celsius, or maybe joined a group of more than 300 trekkers?

In southwest China's Chongqing municipality, which is facing its hottest summer since 1951, a new hobby has emerged among its citizens - urban hiking.

Participants call it "night hiking".

This summer, a rare heatwave is hitting Chongqing with local authorities having been issuing high temperature alerts since July.

But the hot weather hasn't dampened the public's passion for outdoor activities - like urban hiking, or "night hiking".

Night hiking is an outdoor sport for a group of participants walking in residential streets or riverside roads, usually over a long distance.

Feng Shu, a 39-year-old salesman in a food company, is the organizer of the hike.

He has been an outdoor enthusiast since 1998.

And, in 2001, he decided to initiate a "night hike" team.

"I love sports and have travelled a lot. But as I became busier for my work, the less time I had to take long journeys. I still had that passion for sport though, so, in 2011, I began to invite people to participate in hiking tours through the internet."

To encourage more people to join his hike team, Feng set up a night-hike online forum.

Now Feng's hike team has more than 5000 members and is continuing to grow.

Most of Feng's team members are young walkers, but there are also some elderly trekkers and children too.

People join the team for different reasons.

Gu Jiapu is a civil servant.

Besides using the walks to stay fit, he also wanted to meet friends.

"Having lived in the city for a long time, I wanted to join in an activity that meant I'd be staying healthy and make friends. Night hike is perfect because it combines those two goals."

Young women in particular have joined the group to stay fit.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)"Night Hike" Team Member
"Women care about their body shape. I wanted to keep fit and make friends through night hike."

There are also elderly people who say socializing with young people helps them feel young again.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)"Night Hike" Team Member
"I am 62 years old and I joined the hike team a month ago. Young people are more active than we elderly people. Hiking with them makes me feel more energetic and happy."

The organizer, Feng, said night hike has changed many members' lifestyle.

"Night hike means a complete change of scene for many people after work. When we hold a hike day, people take sports shoes and clothes to work and join up with their hike team immediately after work. For those people who are not as busy at work, they usually finish supper before 5pm and come straight out to hike."

Feng said he hopes more people will sign up to his "night hike" team, so they too can stay fit and healthy and make new friends.