A Whole New Wall

Hot and Crowded at the Great Wall (2010)

In my past visits to China, I’d visited the Great Wall a few times with my family. While I don’t remember much from most of these trips, I do remember a few things.  The Wall was always crowded with tourists and it was almost always really hot.  We’d visit the wall for an hour or so, take our obligatory picture and move on to somewhere else. This trip, I got a chance to experience the Wall in a new (and amazing!) way.  On our group’s trip, we visited the Jin Shan Ling (金山岭) portion of the wall. Unlike most other parts of the wall, this part is a little bit farther from Beijing and much more secluded.

The Beginning of Our Hike

Just to reach the wall, you need to take a 10-15 minute hike.  Once we reached the wall, we went on a long hike.  While it was cold, the 2 hour hike was one of the best experiences I’ve had in Beijing.  The beginning of our hike was similar to what you would get at any other tourist place (minus all the people!).  The wall was reconstructed with nice (but steep) steps. As we continued on our hike, we reached portions of the wall that were completely un-renovated.  This was an amazing chance to see the wall as it was originally built.  While the hike was tiring, reaching the end was very worth it.  The entire time we got to see amazing sights and breathe in the fresh air.  I found myself imagining the wall in it’s early days and could picture people working hard to build it up to what it is now.  It was an amazing chance to take in nature and the beauty of the Great Wall without worrying about bumping into people or stepping out of someone else’s picture.

When I return, I definitely plan to come back to this spot on the Great Wall.  I loved the reaching the top and feeling like I’d accomplished something. I loved seeing the un-renovated rocks and the broken wall in its natural state.  I love the Great Wall and can’t wait to go back.