The Great Wall of China – day 1

2 days ago I came back from one of the most incredible trips ever. It was done as a charity event for the Free the Children foundation and I & D were two of the proud 45 trekkers taking part in this adventure.

We had everything arranged through a travel agent and even if I am a great supporter of arranging everything on my own, I have to admit that for a trip like this it’s is better to be guided by someone who really knows the ‘territory’.

The trek itself took 4 days and we hiked for about 7 hours daily.

The official length is 8,851.8 km (though with the lost sections it’s about 18000 km) and we’ve covered about 40-50 miles.

The wall was constructed about 2,000 years from the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC) to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the main purpose for building was to protect China from invasion by northern tribes like the Mongols.

We woke up at 5.30 daily, had breakfast at 6 and at 7 on the first day we headed east to Huangyaguan, which is one of the least visited sections of the wall, and famous as the site of the annual Great Wall Marathon.

The first couple of hours were on well-constructed wall, albeit with some steep sections. I’ve noticed the marathon signs (as it took place just 3 days ahead) and I was thinking how crazy (to read: fit) you need to be to do this marathon. It’s not as easy as you might think looking at the pictures. Climbing the steep sections at 30C is hard work, let alone running on them…

We then went on the daunting Heaven’s Ladder where we’ve reached crumbly sections of original wall.

We’ve stayed in a hotel that was in an ancient fort and had great views up to the wall.

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