Pulled from the archives Dec 22nd 2007 – This is the trip that I mentioned in the Mauo Kong Trail Ride Report that got me thinking I need to come back with a Mountain Biking. It was a great trip with the exception of the next day where I just about did not make it home in time for Christmas this trip…lot's of delays, plane trouble and a little adventure with an attempted mugging, but I’ll save that story for another day.
Packed a ton of stuff into Friday starting with the Great China Wall.
It took about an hour or more drive to the section of the China Wall we would be hiking up today. I was joined by a co-worker based in the China office. The entire Wall used to be 4000 miles long now it is more like 371 miles. Much has been destroyed by fighting centuries ago or nature. I have no idea how long the section we walked on Friday, but it long enough, but fun with some fantastic views.
We purchased our Tickets and then started up a little path. I was navigating through the crowds and heard some talking to a fellow foreigner. (It is sure hard to swallow being called a Foreigner, but I guess when your in someone else's country that is what you are.) Back on Point. They were telling this person that they were not strong enough to go up this section of the Great Wall and need to take this easier path. Ok.... I thought to myself looking at the guy he seemed fine. I looked at the section they would be taking and it was really short to a look out and back. I told Jin, lets not go that easy way and go this harder way. We came around the corner and immediately saw what the guy was talking about. There are no steps for much of it as you lean forward where you could probably use your hands to hold yourself up. I kept a good pace going really not stopping much other than to navigate around people coming down. The legs were not really burning, but I was sure breathing good and hard.
The above photo is looking across the section I came up to arrive at the highest part of the wall. It doesn't look all that bad does it, but believe me it was difficult.
Maybe this photo will give you an idea how steep it was in places and not every section like this had steps.
Once at the top their was Tablet that says your a Hero if you made it this far. AT least that is how it was translated for me, since I don't read Chinese yet. There was a vendor at the top taking photos in front of the Tablet and making Certificates for everyone that made it to the top. I made it and figured I should have a Certificate that states, that I am a hero. It is all in Chinese, but trust my co-worker has not told me a fib.
After arriving to the top I could see the Wall continued on around. I asked if we could continue and hook back up with the Cars on the other side. The answer was Yes and with that we continued on.
The above gives you a good idea of how the areas without steps looked. The quads and Calves were starting to scream a bit coming down. There was an older gentleman that walked the Wall itself on the down and up hill sections. He looked like a circus performer. Amazing strength.
Looking down on the section we still need to cover and beyond.
Looking back on what we covered so far. The legs were starting to feel like they were made of rubber. This what the section looked like they we climbed up on the other side. Amazing that the entire wall was built by hand. Just an amazing experience overall.
Still a way's to go until we are back to the cars......
Looking back again as the distance we've covered.
A bit further to go yet.
Overall enjoying the views, taking photos, chatting with those that spoke English or could be translated along the way we made really good time. Completed the entire section in two hours. It took Jin and another co-worker last year 5hrs, so it was cool to receive a complement that I kept a strong pace. I have really enjoyed my time in China and the China Wall was better than I expected the experience to be. Highly recommend checking it out.
My legs were rubber and a bit sore after exiting the China Wall, but even so that would not slow me down there were many other places to visit today.
While we waited for the car to come around we walked looking at some of the items for sale. I purchased a shirt and the vendor would not give my change back. Instead insisted that I purchase something else. I found a few items and then haggled on price until I got it down to what I was willing to pay. I had to do this a few times on other items as it appeared they would not be giving me any change. I could deal with this, but the other street vendors that would chase you down the street begging you to purchase something you did not want. Grabbing your arm blocking your way. I learned real quickly how to say "No Thank You!!!!!!" in Chinese. After a while I finally would say nothing to these street vendors and found they would give up a lot sooner if you never said anything to them in the first place.
I sure don't miss the Street Vendors, but the rest of my experience was great. Eventually the car arrived and off we went back to Beijing for some lunch and onto our next visit.