For those who saw the pictures as they were still uploading, they now have more captions, and show up “in order”.
27 October 2007
North East Beijing Territory
Some people from work were talking about a Great Wall Hike. I was reluctantly invited to go along, after being told many times that it would be a lot of up and down, and it’s very strenuous…
The group starts off at a break-neck pace, and I become winded almost immediately. I think, “this is not a good sign”. Then we start heading up this very steep trail, I find myself and two others are lagging behind already. The rear trail master (there are three) tells us to take our time, and rest if we need to (but we haven’t been walking for more than 10 minutes).
Advise or not, I had to stop twice. Finally, I made it to the top of the wall. As I go from one tower to another (down and up), I note that I’m lagging behind the bulk of the group. The two with me becomes one ahead, and one behind (with the tail trail master).
Military Base Leads to Up-Close Rural Life
So, I reach the point on the wall that guards an active military base. Note how they built a barrier on top of the wall to make sure we don’t go past.
The Hike Leaves the Trail here to walk around in the valleys and past the base. During this part of the hike (downhill without a stone walk), I make up some time, and I was actually jogging in some areas.
In some ways this was the most interesting part of the hike. We went through two little rural villages - lots of pictures, starting here.
After about an hour of this, I found the mid trail master waiting for me with two other hikers that doubled back a bit. They asked me how far behind the rear trail master was, and they had been two towers behind when I left the wall, and I hadn’t seen them since.
Back up to the wall
So, the greater bulk of the hiking group were here pausing a little before going up an even steeper trail than any I’d done before. They had already rested, and bounded up the hill. It was like a goat trail, criss crossing up a steep hill. I didn’t get any pictures of this - can’t really see the trail anyway. There are some shots of the view looking back over the trail though.
By the time I got to the lunch tower, the rest of the group had been there for 15 minutes. But the person at the tail never caught up while we were there. While I sat eating my sandwiches, and drinking more water, my legs started hurting. Then, just then, we were off again. Second tower on, the mid trail master was walking with me, and I almost lost my balance a few times. My legs were cramping, and I was trying to work through it.
The rest of the group was already two towers ahead. By the fourth tower, the mid trail master said he was going to leave me to option 1 with the rear trail master and the other slow hiker. The mid trail master, was now the new rear trail master. I was disappointed with myself, but also knew that I realistically couldn’t have done the full hike.
Jin Shan Ling Park
When I finally made it to the border of Jin Shan Ling Park (Actually, I’m still not sure, nobody was there to check the ticket I had) - I’m guessing in that I spotted a trash can in that tower, and this is where evidence of restoration work was noticeable. Two towers from here, I stopped
- I saw the parking lot. A minute later, the rear trail guide called to me to make sure I wouldn’t go any further, as this was our exit.
Ride to Si Ma Tai
Me and the other slowpoke rode in a hired van with the rear trail-master to a restaurant at Simatai. It was a 40 minute drive, and when we arrived we still had an hour and a half of waiting for the rest of the hiking party. I definitely could not have made the journey.
I had a lot of time here to take shots of the Simatai wall.