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nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

The Great Wall of China - 15km hike to Mutianyu

CHINA | Saturday, 10 November 2007 | Views [2103] | Comments [2]

Beijing Hikers Club (2)

The Great Wall hike was very good indeed, tiring but excellent. From 15km west of Mutianyu to Mutianyu was a hard walk and two thirds of it were over sections that have not been reconstructed. I had an English guy, Steve, sitting next to me on the way there who I thought would make a good Harry Enfield character. I now know more than I wish to about the steel industry. I also know why the sink drainers that I bought in Australia from a Chinese import shop rusted only 1 week after buying them. Steve could really talk.

First of all the weather was glorious, there was a clear blue sky, no wind (thankfully) and the temperature was ideal for a difficult walk. It started with a gentle uphill stroll until we got to the wall, then we could see both how impressive and hard it would be. In the beginning some sections were very steep, some were very narrow with sheer drops either side and some were straight forward.
Where we first got to walk on the wall.
Where our hiking trail met the wall.

Not far along the wall we reached a point where we had to climb one at a time because it was loose, steep rubble. While we were thinking about how to climb it Steve was saying things like "This isn't hard, we could go up there", pointing at the nearly vertical Great Wall remains above the section that we were about to climb. When it was finally his turn he stepped up to climb and did so effortlessly and quickly, despite his age. Obviously he'd done this sort of thing before. There was one tricky bit near the top of this section where there were only a few rocks to use as steps. Steve was striding up so fast that each foot was placed fast and hard on the rubble. He managed to loosen some rocks near the mid-point and all of us at the bottom laughed it off when some rocks fell. Then he reached the top part and sent 3 large rocks down on us all! Fortunately the rocks bounced four or five times and stopped short of where people at the bottom were standing. Nobody laughed that time. Unfortunately it made the last bit of that section a little bit harder because some crucial steps were now missing. Everybody made it OK eventually.

The most difficult part, we only climbed up to the mid point above which there was very little to cling to.

Next were some more tricky sections but most were not as difficult, it was actually not all that hard after all. The first two hours were mostly spent getting to and walking on unreconstructed wall, it was so slow that after 1 hour on the wall we could still clearly see where we started. The scenery was very good in most directions and I kept snapping away at the postcard like views. When we reached the reconstructed wall it was plain sailing, no more loose rubble or narrow paths to negotiate. There were also lots of tourists looking tired along this section, although fewer than I had expected. We passed a chinese kid at one point while going down some stairs. The kid shouted at the first one in our line "ni shi waiguoren ma?" or "Are you a foreigner?", the kids family laughed and so did I, I understood some Chinese without saying please speak slowly, hurrah.

The view back along the wall where we had come from.

A couple of rather large middle aged women had impressivley made it quite a way up the reconstructed wall, they were resting when I passed them. It looked like they would be sitting there for a while. Steve told me that a German guy in our group asked them "Did you count how many steps there are?" just to rub things in.

The view ahead on the reconstructed wall at Mutianyu.

Then we went for Trout dinner at a Trout farm in Mutianyu. There were at least six different dishes served by the end of our late lunch and only the rice remained on the table when we left. It was getting cold outside but the food was plentiful and tasty. To make the cold feel worse I somehowmanaged twice in a row to fill and then spill 2 cups of beer, "OH NO" I shouted. I was left with a wet patch on my white trousers in a rather embarrassing spot but I was more bothered about the wasted beer. There's nothing like getting everyones' attention when doing something stupid.

Just as we were about to head back to Beijing I got on the bus early. Steve was not on the bus when a young girl from the USA said to me
"Is this seat free?" while pointing at the seat next to me.
Steve was still outside so I said "Well, there is nobody there at the moment".
The two English lads at the back pissed themselves laughing. "That's a no then" one of them said.
Then I said "There was someone sitting there but he is not on the bus yet".
She said "Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realise your friend was sitting here".
Then I said "He's not my friend" and looked up to see Steve standing a few steps away from me.
The two English lads at the back again pissed themselves laughing, only this time louder.
I tried to repair the damage and said to her "I met him on the bus" but I saw him looking at me with a startled expression on his face.
The funny thing was that earlier Steve and I were talking about how Australians sometimes give frank answers but it normally means nothing. They just do so for a laugh.
She sat down next to me.
Most people fell asleep.
Steve kept talking.

It turned out that today was Beijing Hikers' last day of walking on unreconstructed parts of the Great Wall. I'm so glad I made it.

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

Very wonderful article and I am also glad you made it walking on the unreconsructed parts of the Great Wall. I would have thought of turning back around and going home.

  David Jan 13, 2008 3:50 PM

2

Glad you liked it. On the bus on the way the Chinese guide said something like "It's not that hard, anyone can do it" followed by "Does anyone feel they might not be able to do it". Turning back was not really an option from then on!

  nomadnorrie Jan 14, 2008 2:10 AM

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