One thing that fascinated me when I researched about the Great Wall of China is that it was used more for communication than for separation. In the days before cell phones, messages could be sent quickly over long distances along the wall using smoke, flares and flags.
These are photos from the reconstructed area called Mutianyu. It is less crowded than Badaling, which is more easily accessed from Beijing. As I mentioned we had a private driver to our hotel as part of Wild Great Wall’s self-guided tour so we did not have to figure out how to get back to the city.
Comparing from the photos I posted last week, Which Way. You can see that the reconstruction and maintenance are a monumental endeavor. The wall is along the crest of the hills and the area is not accessed by roads, the materials are heavy and there is a lot of territory to cover.
Traveling this section there are a lot of stairs, steep and uneven in many places.
These are from a walk we took on the Great Wall of China last spring, from Jiankou to Mutianyu. These are all from the unimproved section (Mutianyu is one of the large sections that has been improved.)
The walk was about five miles and the package we used had a driver who drove us to Jiankou, then walked with us to the first tower on the wall (that is a steep-ish, but short hike), after taking our picture he returned to the car and drove around to Mutianyu to meet us. Once on the wall you can follow it and the instructions provided easily. I can recommend the outfit we used: “Wild Great Wall”, I’ve used them three times for different activity levels. We all felt that is was beneficial to see both the unreconstructed and the reconstructed wall. If I stay on task this week (not real good odds) I will post pictures from the reconstructed section of the wall next week.
In April, it seems so very long ago now, my husband and I spent three weeks visiting our son in China. A highlight of our trip was a hike up to and along the Great Wall starting at an un-restored area and ending at a restored one. It was a splendid day.
The symbol of China more than any other is the Great Wall. It winds its way along the tops of mountains. It has a fascinating history, if only because it has so much history. A History of the Great Wall of China Ebook by Luo Zhewen gives a better idea than any attempt I might make to paraphrase it. It was provided by WildGreatWall.com, the outfit through which I arranged our hike from Jiankou, where the wall has not been restored, to Mutianyu, where it has been. If you like to hike I strongly recommend that hike, although the hike up to the wall is a bit challenging. I’ve used WildGreatWall.com three times and they have all been good experiences. Here are some pictures from the hike we took earlier this month:
Deciduous azalea blooming near the trail up to the wall.
The road not taken, looking west-ish from zhengbeilou tower.
Watch your step.
Path is narrow in places.
Broken area gives a chance to see construction details.
Spring blossoms and the “oxhorn”.
This section is in good shape for being un-restored.
The resoted section has lots, and lots, and lots of steps.
Still quite a ways to go.
Looking back at where we came from.
Myth busting: The great wall is not visible from space. It is too narrow to be seen from even a low earth orbit. Here is a view from a plane:
In the spring of 2014 my son and I did a “wild wall” walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu. This gallery is a sampler of the paths along that trip, from the rickety ladder up to the tower to the stone mosaic (I know that isn’t quite the right word for it) on the path from the wall down into the town.