The Wall really is great!

11 Oct

1st day Great WallAfter a mixed night of rest, it felt like the whole trekking group was buzzing with excitement and nerves this morning as today we were going to see the Wall for the first time. Weather wise it didnt look particularly promising as there was heavy fog in Beijing but as we left the hotel and headed off in the coach the weather began to improve and the sun came out.

We reached our hotel after a couple of hours. We are staying in an old castle/ fort part of the Wall itself. It’s an interesting place, full of turrets, courtyards and a museum about the history of the Great Wall.

Once we had had lunch, we drove briefly uphill to the start of the Huangyaguan Great Wall, or Yellow Cliff Pass section of the Wall. Apparently our extremely knowledgeable local crew/guides, Alan and Dennis explained its one of the oldest sections of the Wall – some parts date back to the 6th century although a lot of it was restored in the 15th & 16th century during the Ming dynasty.

Great Wall sunWhilst everyone was excited to be here finally, I wasn’t alone in questioning my fitness levels, could we do this?? Our lovely trek leaders, Jen and Mark gave us an early pep talk, highlighting its not a race and that “we start as a team and we will end as a team” and so we began.

Today was just a warm up half day trek. Jen described it as our introduction to the trek as we would experience a bit of everything terrain wise. And we did! Steep steps up and down, uneven paths and a woodland walk. The group fractured into smaller groups so people could walk at a pace that suited them but we kept stopping to re-group which gave us lots of time to admire the views. Some parts were particularly steep and challenging but we did it… I did it! Hurrah!

The whole experience was great actually. After the anxiety and travelling it felt fabulous to be finally walking on the Great Wall of China. The views over the surrounding mountains were spectacular, even though it was sadly very hazy. The Great Wall actually does look like its pictures – pretty awesome!

Deborah's birthday cakeTomorrow is a long 8-hour trekking day, we are doing a steep hill climb including the infamous Heavens Ladder. We saw the path in the distance today… Yikes! We will then be spending the night in a mountain village that sounds pretty spectacular. My legs are aching a little already so it’s going to be a big challenge but now I’m here I am looking forward to it. I’m doing this for a reason after all.

Oh yes, and it’s my birthday! By this stage of my life I’ve begun to try to ignore birthdays but today has definitely been one to remember. A trek on the Great Wall of China and I was presented with a huge musical birthday cake at dinner and then randomly there were fireworks! Wow! What a lovely way to spend my birthday – if only my family was here too it would be perfect!

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One Response to “The Wall really is great!”

  1. Lesley Shannon October 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    How exciting and on your birthday. Hope to hear all about ‘Heaven’s Ladder’ when you return from your epic journey. Hope you rest up tonight as 8 hours sounds exhausting but magical.

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