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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Julie and Chris checked their photos… all good… no retakes required.
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Beer drunk; time to get on with the day’s walk.
The challenge … 22 towers/beacons and 8km (5mi.) ahead of us.
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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.
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Signs like these cropped up every now and then along the wall…
We were all very mindful of minding our steps!
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Crossing… not sure where. Graffiti… Certainly not!
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We plodded on, strung out like the proverbial Brown’s cows…
each one walking at their own pace.
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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.
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Maybe this photo gives a better idea of the steepness. It was really hard work.
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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’.
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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.
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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.
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All signs were in Chinese and English with a graphic as well.
A fairly clear message, I would say,
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But … he’s a local and I guess old habits die hard.
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He was a drink seller… a long day, just sitting, hoping to make a sale.
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Some of the towers definitely made a dramatic statement.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Dinner time was a happy occasion after such a hard day’s walk on the Wall.
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