Reposting this from my previous mysorefeet blog. Too bad I can’t import the comments made on this one. Oh well … such is life. Will be moving a few more travel stories over in the future.
Great! Just Great! I had a long ass narrative about my experience at the Great Wall and when I clicked Publish, I was redirected to the log in page. OMG! All my hard work just vanished into cyberspace. No matter what I do, I just could not retrieve the page with my text. As such, I think shall migrate to another provider. Bugger.
Anyway – briefly …
When I was in Beijing last October, I went on a 1-day hike of the Great Wall. We started off at Jinshanling and ended at Simatai (two provinces north east of Beijing). The whole trek was just a little over 10 kilometres, but it took me about 5 hours to navigate.
I had to ride a cable car to get to the Great Wall itself (from the parking lot). The cable car was unlike any I have been on before. (1) It was big enough only for 2; (2) the windshield was cracked and the whole car creaked; and (3) the ride up was unbelievably slow. But – despite all those, I got to the peak in one piece and after walking a few kms more, I finally found myself on one of the greatest wonders of architecture and of the world.
Although parts of the wall – most especially the watchtowers have succumbed to the ravages of time and of the elements, most of the wall at Jinshanling was still intact. It was a really beautiful structure and one that was quite challenging to conquer. Most of the steps were very high and the inclines were ridiculuously steep. At one point, I just said, the hell with it, I’m not going to exhaust myself climbing up to THAT tower (see pic below).
So I took a short cut instead. I walked alongside the Wall – like an invader. I just skipped three towers, so I don’t think I really missed out on much. After all, I think I still managed to wheeze myself to about 20 more of those (spread out from Jinshanling to Simatai). When I got to the exit, I just didn’t want to walk anymore so I gathered up my courage and paid CNY 40 for a quick zip down the gorge, past Mandarin Lake and onto the parking area where the shuttle back to Beijing was waiting..
Just like the cable car, the zip line was an adventure in itself. Unlike other zip lines (or flying foxes, whichever it is called), I only had my carabiner and rope to hang on to for dear life. No, I didn’t have any full body harness that was attached to the overhead cables, or seats, or paddings for that matter or gloves – there was not even a life vest. The operators just pushed me off the ledge when they saw that I was ready and whoosh! — I flew down the gorge and straight into the little platform at the far end of Mandarin Lake.
It was an exciting day and yes, I had sore feet afterwards (and sore thighs as well) but it was definitely well worth the agony.