Conquering the Great Wall – Huangyaguan and the trek starts

This is the second instalment from my recent China trek adventures where I took part in a 5-day charity trek on the Great Wall of China.

Today our trek would start properly and I was excited, but after the shock of yesterday’s walk also worried that maybe it would be too hard for me to achieve. We were up early after an unsettled sleep and I’d woken up feeling cold. After a strange breakfast of cold fried eggs, jasmine tea, sweet bread and jam (that I spread on with chopsticks!) we were taken by coach to Taipingzhai where we would walk back to the barracks where we had been staying.
Our guides yesterday had pointed out where we would be walking and we’d seen what looked like tiny ants coming down a steep section of the wall. Today was our turn to be the tiny ants.
​It was the first time I was using two walking poles and they had been adjusted for me by one of the group leaders and I’d had a bit of a lesson. Now was time to use them properly as I made my way up the steps to the first part of a restored section of the wall. They were a pest and I kept getting my feet out of sync with my arms but later in the trek they would prove to be invaluable.
This part of the wall because it was restored had a few tourists visiting where later in the remote sections we hardly saw anyone. It was also our first taste of being celebrities and we had many Chinese tourists taking our photos or coming and standing near us to have their photo taken with a western person.
It was tough going, the early morning cold has disappeared and now the heat was immense, we had lots of steep steps up and down with a few flatter slippy sections in between. The scenery was spectacular and at the top of every flight of steps was another incredible view of the wall snaking its way over the mountains in the distance. There were a lot of dizzying drops off the wall too so I would have to be careful and pay attention to my feet.
We walked approx. 5km in 3 hours and I enjoyed it! I felt a lot better about the trek and had spoken to lots of people in my group, everyone had felt the same about the previous days walk and we had all started chatting and getting to know each other – phew they were nice people. I was starting to think if the wall is all like today I can do this.
Once we made it back to the barracks area we had lunch again in the restaurant, and then a few of us had a walk to a little shop and then along the road outside the barracks where we saw some horses we wanted to photograph. Their owner wasn’t happy about us taking pictures but agreed on a deal where if we paid him we could take as many as we liked. One of the girls even got on the horse but I wasn’t that brave. After a bit of relaxing we were back on the coach for transfer to our next lodgings at a homestay in Jinshanling.
Read my next blog as we walk to Jinshanling on what would be one of our hardest and longest days walking 8 hours and covering over 20 watchtowers.
For more photos and videos of my time in China you can also check out my Facebook page.
The Helpful Hiker
10 comments Add yours
  1. Wow what an adventure! I have loved following your China posts, so exciting and you really have come so far. I’m sure that you have inspired lots of people to follow in your footsteps. I bet you won’t forget it in a hurry! Thanks for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

    1. Thanks Lauren, I have apparently inspired some people which is lovely. I won’t forget it in a hurry, memories to treasure forever.

  2. Oh what a great experience this must have been – I’m VERY jealous! It’s great that you had such a friendly group too as I imagine that made things a lot easier and a lot more supportive. Great photos and a simply awesome experience. Thanks for linking up to #adventurecalling, I hope you can again tomorrow.

    1. I was incredibly lucky to have such a great group and we’re all keeping in touch and trying to plan another adventure somewhere! Thanks for reading David.

  3. What an amazing adventure. This has always be something I’ve wanted to do. It sounds tough but worthwhile! #adventurecalling

  4. I couldn’t get past your image of spreading jam with chopsticks 🙂 Glad to hear the trek worked out well; it’s tough walking in the heat! #adventurecalling

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