China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall - Mutianyu: Part VI

Wednesday was the last day of our trekking. 

We had an early wake up at 6:30am to reach the last part of the wall. It took us about 50 minutes to reach the wall and when we arrived it was still relatively quiet and uncrowded. To reach the wall itself we first had to walk up a hill which was lined with market sellers. We then had to walk up 700 steps to reach the start of our walk. 

My energy had returned and I was so ready to go! 

Trekking The Great Wall of China 

The walk was about 10km in total and our final destination was the Stairway to Heaven which was another 700 steep stairs to the top. Walking up was tough but I had the determination to finish.

Trekking The Great Wall of China

The last 10-15 steps were the most difficult and the steepest. Hearing the other six who had reached the top chanting my name and clapping just brought so much happiness. I can’t really describe the sense of achievement that I felt to complete the trek – no shortcuts. I was and am honestly so proud of myself. If I had told anyone a few years back that I was going to trek the Great Wall of China they would probably have laughed at me. But look at me now!

Trekking The Great Wall of China Trekking The Great Wall of China Trekking The Great Wall of China Trekking The Great Wall of China

Once everyone had reached the top it was time to go back down again. There was the choice to use the cable car or walk back down. At first I was thinking I would just take the cable car because it would be a different experience, but after speaking to Kim I was persuaded to walk back down. I don’t think that I would have felt quite the same about finishing if it wasn’t for her. It was Kim, Mandy, Richard and I who walked basically together for the rest of the way. When we reached the bottom Kim gave me a big hug and that’s when I knew that I had really completed the journey.
Trekking The Great Wall of China Trekking The Great Wall of China Trekking The Great Wall of China
For lunch we had Subway! I was happy for the change from having Chinese every day. Afterwards we were taken to a Jade Factory to part ways with our money. I can’t remember much of the information that was given except that we were told that 80% of jade comes from China, which I had no idea about. The statues and ornaments were beautiful and ornate.
In the evening we were driven to our next hotel which was The Holiday Inn Express in the city of Beijing. I can’t express how nice it was to have a proper shower with power! Not to mention the lovely comfy bed.

This was the end of an unforgettable trek, but not the end of the trip!
Trekking The Great Wall of China
Trekking The Great Wall of China
We did it!


China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall - Jinshanling: Part V

We’ve just arrived at our next lodge called the Nali Lodge after a 5 hour (10km) trek on the Jinshanling Pass. I found the day pretty tough going, particularly where the steps were just crumbles of rock and you literally had to climb up and down.  It was a beautiful section though, with some incredible views. My feet are totally killing me!

Enjoy the view guys :)

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China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall - Simatai: Part IV

Today we trekked 12km along the Gubeikou Pass. It was a mixture between the previous days adventures as it combined trekking both the wall and forested areas. My legs feel absolutely wrecked as do my poor feet. I’ve only just started to gain movement in my toes again (I’m writing this a few hours after ending the trek). My body is seriously cursing me right now.
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Anyway, today was brilliant! What an absolutely amazing view the entire way and the autumn colours were stunning. Oranges and reds mixed with green as far as the eye can see. At the very beginning whilst we were climbing up to get to the wall, I was really wondering to myself if I could complete the day. Three of the girls sadly turned back quite early due to the height issues. The majority of the wall was crumbly and narrow with no wall on either side – just sheer drops.
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When we exited the bus on arrival at the wall we were greeted by the ‘Hello People’. These are women who used to be farmers but have now became sellers instead. They choose one person each and walk with you along the wall for the entire journey. It actually sounded a little worrying and annoying but they were really nice people who just want to help as much as they can whilst making a living for themselves. Obviously everything comes with a price so they do try to sell something at the end of the trek and trust me, you feel totally obliged to buy from them! I got into a bit of trouble with mine actually because a different Hello Lady came up to me after the trek offering me gifts to buy. Since my Hello Lady had disappeared, I assumed that I had to buy from this woman instead so I took a book about the Great Wall. As soon as my Hello Lady clocked me buying from this other woman, she ran up to me shouting ‘No, no, no, I walked with you!’ I felt awful! She then started shoving chopsticks in my face at a ridiculous price and since I had previously acted out that I didn’t have much money on me, I ‘borrowed’ money from Dave to buy them. This cheered her up a bit and I figured that I owed her in some strange way.
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Here is a little snippet about my Hello Lady:  Her name was Lu and she was a 30-year-old pretty lady with chin length hair. Her English wasn'tt very good but I did understand that she has two young boys and travels four hours a day to get to work. When I say travel I mean walks. It really made me appreciate everything I have. We complain about ridiculous work conditions such as not having the right chair to be sitting at our PC for eight hours a day, when we should be lucky to have a comfortable and stable job at all.


China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall - Black Dragon National Park

16.10.11 – 06:45am

Just woke up about 15 minutes ago. I’ve been waking up and stretching my legs all night in preparation for the day ahead. Today we’ll be at the Black Dragon National Pool and it’s supposed to be an easier but much longer trek. I just hope that my legs cope!

We’re staying at the Impression Lodge which is close to the park and one thing I’ve noticed since we arrived yesterday is that there’s some kind of thumping sound throughout the lodge. It’s literally going ‘Boom, boom, boom’ all the time like a heartbeat. I think it must be a generator of some kind. Anyway, we just had our wake up call so it’s time to get ready.

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16:50 - Day 2 of trekking over! 

Today was a 10km trek which lasted 5 ½ – 6 hours. The park was beautiful. We trekked through a large amount of forested areas with a few difficulties on the way.  It definitely did not feel as tough as yesterday but it’s still very rewarding to have completed the whole day because I don’t think I’ve ever actually trekked this kind of distance in one go! I’m not as unfit as I thought I was!

Reading this back six years later, I have to laugh at how challenging I had thought this once was! At the same time it's a great reminder of how far I've come along since then :)