Heaven’s Ladder conquered!

12 Oct

Great Wall stepsWOW what a day. After an early start we started trekking from our hotel at 8am. We spent the next couple of hours walking steeply uphill following the Wall as it snaked up the hillside. The steps on the Wall vary from easy shallow ones to challenging deep steps that require serious leg muscle! Gulleys (water channels) punctuate the steps and are a real hazard as you could really hurt your foot and ankl if you fall into them so walking with caution is essential.

Today had worried me a little in advance, as it included a walk up Heaven’s Ladder, which is an incredibly steep set of 200 steps. In fact whilst it was a big challenge, the walk up to it took an hour and half or so, which meant we were well warmed up and was probably as bad so it wasn’t such a shock!

The group took a break at the top to allow everyone to catch up and we were joined by a large group of Chinese trekkers who were in party mode at the top. Giving speeches, waving flags, singing songs – a perfect entertaining distraction from the last couple of hours of exertion. We were encouraged to sing for them also and the group didn’t disappoint with a hearty rendition of “swing low sweet chariot” and some other “national favourites”!   As a fellow trekker commented “who knew Heaven was a club” and indeed it certainly had a lovely happy (relieved) party atmosphere.

Deborah Great Wall of ChinaFor the next couple of hours we snaked through a woodland path climbing to the top of the hillside with staggeringly lovely views across the mountain range. It was simply stunning and made four hours of walking well worthwhile. As we finally stopped for lunch the sun finally came out.

Unfortunately straight after lunch we started walking uphill again and having rested and cooled down it hurt that much more. Bizarrely it felt more of a struggle than first thing in the morning but eventually the path evened out and my aching calf muscles had some welcome respite. We then cris-crossed a totally destroyed section of the Wall and took some narrow paths with sheer drops either side which were a real challenge to those in the group who have vertigo. I’m grateful I don’t – it’s looking up that makes me dizzy, which was a challenge on Heaven’s Ladder.

Then we started our steep decent downhill, rejoining an old largely unrepaired section of the Wall as it meandered down the hill with ancient watch towers punctuating the path.

I have loved the wild flowers and grasses today and thoroughly enjoyed the early autumn colour, which has been beautiful on the hillside.

Once we reached the bottom of the hill we had a short 3k walk up to a farmers house and trekking lodge. In total with lunch and stops to allow the group to reform we have walked for eight hours today. This was the day I feared most for some reason (potentially ignorance, there may be worse to come but Jen and Mark aren’t letting on yet!!) so I feel a huge sense of achievement. I did it. I conquered Heavens Ladder and lived to tell the tale. Result!

Trekker campfireTonight we are sleeping four to a room and enjoying the delights of more squat loos! It is absolutely freezing here so we are all adding layer after layer. I will almost be pleased to start trekking again tomorrow just to warm up. It’s been a lovely evening though snuggled around a campfire.

Of course over the last few days, I’ve been explaining to people why I’m here and why I feel so passionate about saving lives from bowel cancer (poor souls!). It has reminded me just how much we do at Bowel Cancer UK and I feel so proud of my brilliant colleagues for all they achieve with so few resources. Just imagine what we could do with more…

Please help us improve treatment and care for people with advanced bowel cancer by sponsoring me generously if you can.


Or text GUTS72 £5 or £10 to 70070.

Thank you.

5 Responses to “Heaven’s Ladder conquered!”

  1. Helen Johnson October 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Amazing Deborah so very proud of you…keep going your a star! take care xxx

  2. Lesley Shannon October 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Thoroughly enjoy reading this blog Deborah, amazing achievement and raising awareness as you go. Well done on conquering Heaven’s Ladder, all sounds amazing except for the cold. Look out for blue poppies. Hopeyou find some x Wounds wonderful.Well done.

    take care x

  3. Anna November 6, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    My Brother was diagnosed with the colorectal cancer. He is admitted to CSCS( Central Sydne Colorectal Surgeon: http://colorectal-surgeon.com.au/) in Australia. He is brave and confident that he will recover from the cancer.

  4. Jenelle April 24, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    Deborah , you are amazing.. I am bowel cancer survivor from Sydney.I was admitted to CSCS in Sydney after diagnosing stage 2 bowel cancer.. I appreciate your efforts of helping people who have been going the hard time fighting against bowel cancer.

    • deborahalsina April 25, 2015 at 11:48 am #

      Thank you. Hope you are thriving now.

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