Our section of the wall from Jiankou to Mutianyu was very special because of it’s history and stunning natural beauty. The Jiankou section of the wall was constructed in 1368 during the period of the Ming Dynasty. Jiankou retains its original appearance since its construction, and is recognised as an ideal place for adventurous and experienced hikers and photographers. Meanwhile, the Mutianyu section of the wall was first built in the mid-6th century, and rebuilt in the Ming dynasty.
Overall, it was a truly amazing and unforgettable day, but it did have its moments. We started our walk up to the Great Wall of China about 12.30pm – our driver got lost finding our start point! The uphill part was quite difficult, having to climb over rocky areas and climb steep stepping-stones and negotiate narrow ledges with severe drops. However, after one and a half hours of climbing, we eventually reached the Great Wall and it was certainly worth the effort, as the views that we were rewarded with were absolutely spectacular and there was even better to follow. In total, we walked for circa four and a half hours, negotiating steep uphill areas and some very hairy downhill areas. At one stage, our guide took us off of the Wall and onto a path that was less dangerous than the same stretch on the wall because over the years there had been a large number of accidents, including fatalities. This less dangerous path was very narrow indeed and had a sheer drop that you just don’t dare to look at, but you continue walking, putting one foot in front of the other – because there is only enough room for one foot in front of the other! We were pleased to get back onto the wall and continue our adventure. There are many restored areas and many waiting to be restored, and the waiting bits are very well trodden and badly damaged, so caution is the all important factor.
It was a wonderful experience, just walking through and leaving our footprint on such an historical sight and wondering all of those centuries ago how those people in their multiple of thousands struggled to build it and later fight on it.
As we walked through different sections, we were totally amazed at the beautiful scenery. Apparently the section that we walked is the most beautiful, as it is surrounded with trees and mountains beyond. As the wall twists and turns, so do the view that were outstanding. We climbed up the stairs and ladders of various watch towers and were rewarded with even greater views. We finished our walk, at around five PM, and even though we had planned to walk for another two hours, we were physically tired by now and decided to take the cable car down – our knees told us that another two hours downhill in fading light would be dangerous.
When we arrived at our destination, we were surprised to find that we were in an old Chinese village that was quite charming and it had a street market with the usual souvenirs and the usual naggers pestering us to make a purchase of a t-shirt, watch or handbag and “no thank you we have enough t-shirts” etc.! After a short walk, we arrived at our car for our two hour drive back to Beijing and our hotel and that was a comforting thought!
What an amazing day we had, one that we shall remember for the rest of our lives.