Today marks the third week since I got off the string of Beijing flights that I took on my way to China, and I’ve finally seen the Great Wall of China.  Whenever I contacted friends or family back in the US their first question whenever I mentioned that I was in China was always “have you seen the wall yet?”  No matter who you are, China travel is not complete without a trip to the Great Wall, and believe me, your friends and family will let you know it.

The Great Wall of China on a foggy dayWe went to the Mutianyu section of the wall, famous for the massive toboggan slide that you can ride down the side of it.  Unfortunately when we went it started raining and the slide was closed, so the thrill seekers amongst us were a tad disappointed.  Just seeing the slide from above was insane: it was massive, full of twists and turns, and led from the top of the wall down to ground level.  It looks epic, and I know I’m going to try to make it down again on a clearer day.

We quickly got over the rain, and faced the wall.  A few of us who are fans of barefoot running decided to tackle the wall barefoot rather than getting our shoes wet.  While I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone not experienced with barefoot running/walking, it was a lot of fun.  The stones were all smooth and cool from the rain and I felt connected to
the wall and the history behind it.  We also had great traction on the slippery stones.

As an upside of the rain, the wall was mostly empty when we climbed it.  We ran back and forth in both directions, scrambled up the steps, climbed up on rocks, and took an absurd amount of pictures.  Because of the clouds our pictures didn’t have the immense sweeping views that you can find online, but I like the fog, it adds a mythical feel to the wall.

The wall is incomprehensibly huge, and extremely high up on the mountain.  There are ski lifts that take you up, or you can make the hike up yourself.  Be sure to bring snacks and water, some are available on top of the wall but for a much higher price than on the ground.  The wall is a bit of a hike from Beijing, and if you have a big group like us it makes the most sense to rent a van for the day that will cart you to and from the wall.  There are also Beijing Tours that will take you to and from the wall if you’re in a smaller group, our just want a more guided experience.  Happy Hiking!

Jack Li

2 Responses to “Stairs on Stairs on Stairs”

  1. Chang LIU says:

    Obviously my China travel is not complete…..

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