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Published: August 26th 2010
Up early, bag packed, and then next door for my free breakfast. At 830am a group of about 25 or so of us headed out to two vans, and then started heading northeast of the city. After three hours I could see it snaking its way across the horizon: The Great Wall of China. It took my breath away.
Our guide passed out candy bars and extra water and advised us to take the cable car part-way up to the ninth tower. For three hours we were planning to hike east for about 7 km, covering 22 towers from Jinshanling to Simatai. Even Lonely Planet suggests taking the cable car. It doesn't take a genius to realize that we all decided we were tough, strong individuals; we decided to skip the cable car and hike the whole thing. You've probably already guessed that I can't say the same for our guide.
And then the stairs began. I knew from pictures there were a lot of stairs, and people tell you there are a lot of stairs, but no one ever really
tells you how many stairs there really are. The whole hike was stairs. Up and down we went
over really steep steps, uneven steps, steps next to big holes. I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how 600 years ago Chinese men shorter than me ran up and down this wall, defending from invaders. Often, sadly, I was so intent on making it to the next tower or set of stairs that I forgot to take in the view.
But when I did take the time to savor the view, it was endless. The view just stretched to the horizon and beyond. Tall hills, green mountains, seemingly never-ending, all dotted with the jagged lace of the wall. It was magical.
Really, what else can one say about something so magnificent?
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If only one of the tower set smoke, you know the Mongolian were coming!
Sounds like a great time on the wall. We have been 2 times but to 2 different sections Badaling and Mutianyu, yours sounds the best by covering 22 towers WOW. And yes their are LOTS of stairs.