China #10 Section 3 – Walk on the Wall (12/09/15)

This Walk on the Wall is About Helping Others to Help Themselves

I was up a bit before 06.00 on the morning of the third day of our Walk on the Wall. The sky was bright, and cloudless, but the sun hadn’t as yet risen. By the time I’d showered the sun was hitting a tower of The Wall that I could see from my room. All looked good for a wonderful day hiking along the section of the Wall known as Jinshanling.

How was I feeling after the past two days on the Wall? Well…I had some lactic acid to give away! Thighs in particular were quite stiff. Oh, what I wouldn’t have given for a good massage. And on this next section, Hero warned us, there were even more steps. Surely there couldn’t be! However, the good news… this part of the Wall is mostly restored. Not all, but most.

Breakfast was a bit different…  a “Chinese” breakfast. I think someone asked for it and good on them because we all ended up trying something most of us, if not all, won’t do again! So what did we have? Pickled who-knows-what (other than they were of three different kinds of plant material), a watery soup, cucumber, some oily pancakes, scone-sized puffy things that were made from the same stuff that steamed buns are made of, and a boiled egg or two.

And what did we think of that combination? Most of us left breakfast a little disappointed and still a tad hungry. Maybe we would walk better on some toast and Vegemite!

DSC00484 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00484 © DY of jtdytravels

At the start of this day’s walk there was an impressive bas relief.

It depicted life on the Wall in days long gone by.

DSC00486 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00486 © DY of jtdytravels

The Great Wall at Jinshanling was initially built from 1368 to 1389 and then rebuilt from 1567 and 1570 under the direction of the great General Qi Jiguang (1528–1588)… whose story I’ve told on the post for day one of the walk. So, yes, it is old.

DSC00490 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00490 © DY of jtdytravels

Just before we started the day’s walk, I bought a bottle of beer.  My son Peter had suggested that Chris, Julie and myself (all supported by Peter) should have a beer on the Great Wall. So, we did, quite early on in the morning, too.  I had no intention of carrying that bottle any further than I had to. I’d even remembered to put my bottle opener in my backpack and three glasses (plastic unfortunately). But having that beer was good fun.

DSC00492 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00492 © DY of jtdytravels

Taking the photos early on in the day was a doubly good idea as the air was still brilliantly clear. Cheers Pete! And thanks for your support.. and thanks to everyone else who supported our efforts to raise money for more Shaping Futures Scholarships at UoN.

DSC00495 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00495 © DY of jtdytravels

Julie and Chris checked their photos… all good… no retakes required.

DSC00498 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00498 © DY of jtdytravels

Beer drunk; time to get on with the day’s walk.

The challenge … 22 towers/beacons and 8km (5mi.) ahead of us.

DSC00494 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00494 © DY of jtdytravels

Not a lot of chance to stop for flower photography … but…

I couldn’t resist the beautiful light through the petals of this Convolvulus sp.

Most of you will know this flower as Morning Glory.

DSC00499 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00499 © DY of jtdytravels

Signs like these cropped up every now and then along the wall…

We were all very mindful of minding our steps!

DSC00500 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00500 © DY of jtdytravels

Crossing… not sure where. Graffiti… Certainly not!

DSC00501 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00501 © DY of jtdytravels

We plodded on, strung out like the proverbial Brown’s cows…

each one walking at their own pace.

DSC00503 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00503 © DY of jtdytravels

Although this day’s walk took us over mostly restored Wall, I found parts particularly difficult. There were quite long stretches of steeply sloping ramp which I found much harder to handle than steps, no matter how shallow, deep or irregular the steps were. There were also some very steep, long step sections. I don’t think photos, or even video, really show it as it is.

DSC00504 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00504 © DY of jtdytravels

Maybe this photo gives a better idea of the steepness. It was really hard work.

DSC00505 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00505 © DY of jtdytravels

According to the different terrain, the watchtowers were built in different shapes: some tall, some low;  some rectangular, some square; most with three to five ‘windows’.

DSC00508 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00508 © DY of jtdytravels

The Wall at Jinshanling has retained its original look since its construction several hundred years ago. It is relatively isolated and offers great views whichever way you look.

DSC00509 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00509 © DY of jtdytravels

Because this section of the Wall is a lot more accessible from Beijing than the earlier sections we’d walked, we encountered more people sharing the experience… even a smattering of Aussies along with other foreigners. ‘Twas strange to have to share the Wall.

DSC00510 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00510 © DY of jtdytravels

All signs were in Chinese and English with a graphic as well.

A fairly clear message, I would say,

DSC00513 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00513 © DY of jtdytravels

But … he’s a local and I guess old habits die hard.

DSC00512 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00512 © DY of jtdytravels

He was a drink seller… a long day, just sitting, hoping to make a sale.

DSC00514 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00514 © DY of jtdytravels

Some of the towers definitely made a dramatic statement.

DSC00515 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00515 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking back along the seemingly endless zig-zag of the Wall, we could all be very proud of our day’s effort.  But, when we finally finished our section of the Wall for the day, we were a little dismayed to find that it was still a long walk down to the bus park. On the way down, a hen pheasant ran across my path. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Himalaya and China but I’d never managed to see a pheasant in the wild before. So this was a bit special.

All we weary walkers climbed thankfully on board the bus at about 12.30. It was then just a 10 minute ride to the lunch stop, a family run business where all the food served was prepared from home grown organic produce. We had nine courses plus rice. Some of the courses were cauliflower and Spanish onion, an eggplant dish that was really good, some noodles etc. We had well and truly earned that meal and it was eaten with great relish.

DSC00518 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00518 © DY of jtdytravels

From there it was a two hour drive in the bus to our hotel for the night, in a city called Huairou. It’s on the outskirts of Beijing. Did I say outskirts? The centre of Beijing was, in actual fact, still 90 km away! Beijing is really BIG.

DSC00519 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00519 © DY of jtdytravels

The food looked good! Was good!  It was frog!  From memory the red are tomatoes and capsicum, the green: celery and the green berries on top are Sichuan peppers.

DSC00520 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00520 © DY of jtdytravels

Dinner time was a happy occasion after such a hard day’s walk on the Wall.

More anon

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/50kmFor50Years

Click on “Sponsor a Friend” under the photo of the great wall

Type in David to get to my donation page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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