Construction of the Great Wall of China started around the 5th century BC and was rebuilt and maintained until the 16th century. It stretches for 8,852 kilometres, so I am definitely not walking the entire thing! It is an amazing structure that offers an amazing opportunity for some fantastic photos.
When I toured Asia with my father in 2004, I visited the Great wall at Badaling. This is a very touristy location as it is well maintained and relatively close to Beijing. This time around, I wanted to see a more raw and untouched version of the wall, so I had to travel further out and off the beaten path. It took 90 minutes on a local Chinese bus and then another hour in a taxi to get me to Simatai. The lengthy journey would be turn out to be worth it. I had the wall almost completely to myself and most of the images I captured did not have a single person in the frame.
Right now, spring is almost here, but it still does not give me the green surroundings that I was hoping for. Instead, the look is very grey and baron. Either way produces some great photos as you will see below.
Getting up to the wall was a little more than a hike. I literally had to climb a small mountain just to get to the base of the wall. I walked from the Flowers tower all the way to the General tower. I am not sure of the exact distance, but it was 16 towers from beginning to end. Before my summit attempt of Kilimanjaro last year, I trained for three hours a day on the step mill with a 40lb pack on my back. The workout I had yesterday on the wall made those training sessions seem like a walk in the park. The unstable and loose rocks along with the knee-high steps made the walk feel like I was running the gauntlet.
Enjoy the images of the Great Wall, I am off to explore Beijing!