Today we walked the Great Wall. We drove three hours outside Beijing not only so we could avoid the crush of tourists, also because this portion of the wall, built ABOUT 1330 AD is original. As we drove, we left the city which was smoggy today and entered a mountainous area. These mountains were more like our own than the ones near the panda base. These were craggy, not as vertical, and were covered with evergreens rather than the thin wavy bamboo and feathery firs in Befengshia.
The bus parked at the base of the mountain where our entrance to the wall would be. We walked a way to get to the gondola that would take us up the mountain, These were two seaters and like a ski gondola, we hopped in them as they moved past us. At the top we hopped of and began our ascent to the tower nearest us. These are place every 50 meters along the wall.
We followed a dry clay and rocky clay path about 1 foot wide up the side of the mountain till we arrive at the seeps leading to the tower. The steps were made of slate and stone. They were slippery and jagged, about 6 inches deep which meant my foot didn't always fit and I would have to ascend sideways,, clutching the stone wall along the side wall. Some of the steps were only an inch high, others were a foot. It was treacherous but well worth it as we reached the top.
We worked our way around the tower and came out on the wall. What a fantastic sight. At the top of this mountain range, the wall stretched out before us, curving with the landscape in a serpentine pattern, rising and falling with the geography, We began to follow the tiled path, moving up and down, sometimes on a sloping floor, sometimes on steps that at times seemed to be vertical. At the second tower I found a ledge and some shade and settled down to munch on my picnic lunch, looking out over the mountains cut by the brown serpentine path of the wall.
What a fantastic sight
More later when I get back from dinner..