Published: October 7th 2013October 7th 2013
Gubei Kou to Jinshialing.
We woke up to a blue sky and warm bright sun. This meant nice weather for a long day hiking. While Kyle set up the stove and got breakfast stated, I packed the tent and backpacks. While doing this a family with a little boy and a grandma hike up and an old man, who seemed to be a farmer and also a Great Wall staff guard came up to our camp. The. Family was trying to go up the wall on the same path we had gone on the hike the previous day, but today there was a handmade written sign in Chinese blocking the path (we did not know what is said but assumed it was prohibiting people from going that way up to the Great Wall a photo will be up on the blog if you want to know what the sign looked like and said). The family stays there for awhile mostly observing us and being in awed at our big backpacks. They soon left, but the man stayed on the top of the tower guarding, observing and checking on us all the time. We finished eating, cleaned, repacked our backpacks and left the area. We headed down at around 9:30 towards the same path but a third of the way turned left and hiked down towards the river. The path as mostly dirt and rocks but very bushy. I got these annoying thorn like seeds stuck to my pants. We reached a part of the path were it was mostly cement or concrete steps and eventually got down to the river. It took us about and hour to go down. We washed our clothes and cooking utensils, got changed and took a short break. It was already 11 AM so we headed along a field towards the highway were we thought there was a gas station with a convenience store, but it wasn't it turned out to be a weigh station for trucks and no convenience store. The police and guards of the station were amused by our backpacks but also very helpful. They pointed towards the highway where we could buy water and juice so while Kyle walked tot eh store i read and took care of our backpacks. An old man came riding his old bike and tried to carry Kyle's backpack and when his attempted failed he said something in Chinese like too heavy and left. Kyle got back with only two juices and had to go to he other side to get water. He returned quickly and we repacked and headed out to find the Great Wall entrance towards Jinshialing. The station guards pointed towards Horne highway and said 45 kms. That did not helped so we walked amlittle further and found a group of men whom I asked and they pointed towards a little village and said 10 kms about 3 hours. We headed that way and soon found a small local restaurant with lots of Chinese gathered. They looked at us in surprise to see foreigners and kind of pointed towards the mountains confirming that we were on the right track. Two Chinese women from Beijing who spoke English helped us translate and beware us that Jinshialing was a difficult climbed. We took the village path and passes a few corn fields and farmers picking up the corns which looked so big and yellow and made me want o eat corn although Kyle though they were so big because they were meant to feed cattle. We then reached the end of the path and got to another restaurant or honestly and they pointed in the direction of the mountains. We continued through a grassy field up the mountains, but started to get hungry and stopped at a shadowy area to eat lunch ( protein bars, apples and cookies and tea). We started to see the Great Wall and soon we were on it. The wall was not restored and some paths were really broken into uneven and rough steps and narrowed and steep climbs, but nothing like Jian Kou. We started to see and hear Chinese tourist groups along the way and that guided bus towards the main Gubei Kou section, which was touristy but not as the other sections mainly because of the distance you had to walk and Chinese are pretty lazy and he level of difficulty it took to climbed, so we were happy that we kind of had the wall to ourselves. There were some low towers and in the distance we saw the highest pint of all which according to the map it was he starting point to go to Jingahialing. We decided to aim for that to be our campsite for the night. We continued our hiked stopping occassionally for breaks and photo shooting. As we were walking a long flattish kind of part a Chinese woman asking entrance tickets to Gubei Kou tried to stop us and sell us the same entrance ticket but when we showed her our tickets she let us go through. Our hiked continued and the sightseeing and photoshopping as well. It was pretty cool to look back and see all the previous hiked towers and where we had started the hike. The Great Wall certainly looked like a giant wiggly snake along the mountains! We then reached then last tower of Gubei Kou and one that would lead to Jingahialing. The last tower has a small staircase that led to a trail along the mountain that led to a village anda tee on to the entrance of Jinshialing. We walked passed this tower to the last one to try and camp there , but to our disappointed surprised there was no access to the tower from the wall and the path along the side led to a high double wire fence with a big sign that said military zone. The tower had two openings but they wee in the side of the main path and it would have required a jump and good luck to make it in. So that seen and known the path to Jinshialing was closed we decided to stay on the second to last tower for the night and head to Jinshialing through the mountain side path the next morning. We were also hungry and tired since we had been hiking for about 8 hours. So after relaxing and watching the sunset we headed back and set camp for the night. As we were getting dinner ready and pitching up the tent a Chinese couple came with he same plans as us for camping and looking surprised to have foreigner company. They were super efficient pitching up the tent yucky and getting in bed even faster. As we were cooking, Kyle felt something bit his finger and immediatetly it started to itch, hurt and get very swollen. He took some pain killer, an antihistamines and put an antibacterial lotion but it was really painful so he called it for the night while I finished cooking. I was really worried the bite would be very painful and that we would have to go to Beijing the next day, so i packed everything. When we finished eating and left everything ready to leave as soon as the sun rose. If the pain in Kyle's finger was still bad. We fell asleep quickly hoping the the swell in the finger would be gone and we could continue our hike.