Blooming fruit trees north of Beijing
My first glimpse of the wall at Gubeikou (old northern pass).
"Head back down the road a piece, turn left down the alley and through the village. Then climb the mountain. You can't miss it."
Some of the locals watching me with a wary eye. At least the kids were friendly.
Out of the village and working our way towards the ridgeline.
My second view of the Great Wall. Yep... that's where we're headed.
A distant portal in the Wall.
My guide Cheney as we bushwhack straight up the freakin' mountain towards the Wall. When you're afield with a guy named Cheney, it's best to keep him in front of you.
Approaching the wall.
Standing on the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall of China. It has not been restored so you get what you get. Time to start hiking!
Looking back from the start point. The Wall is in rough shape in this direction.
An artsy shot out one of the watchtower portals.
Light rain fell off and on for much of the day, which made for a hazy background.
All along the watchtower...
An older section of the Great Wall, which is made up of many smaller sections of walls that existed before the unification of China.
Some stretches are all but nonexistent.
A steep and rocky climb up to a large watchtower.
A Chinese couple further up the Wall provide some perspective and scale.
Cheney and I were led on a 'detour' courtesy of NoGo Bai Sr., a local farmer who hit us up for a tresspass fee. That old dude could climb the hills with both hands behind his back and a cigarette clenched between his lips. I was sucking wind...
We were this close to regaining the Wall but NoGo Bei Sr. would not let us go by.
I'm guessing that the sign is explaining that this is a military reservation area and visitors must reamin on the north side of the Wall.
A military reservation on the 'other' side of the Wall prevents hikers from hiking on the Wall at this point. A narrow trail parallels the wall until the end of the reservation.
Walking the narrow path in the shadow of the Wall.
Finally... back on top of the wall after passing the military reservation.
The West Fire Eye watchtower
The beginning of the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall
The Warehouse Watchtower and warehouse can be seen to the upper right.
The money shot - looking over the junction of the Gubeikou and Jnshanling Great Walls. The first day's hike is almost over. And no... this is not a PhotoShop job...
Something we didn't see much of all day - people gathered at the Jinshanling access point.
Looking back at one last steep descent on the unrestored Gubeikou Wall.
Cheney pushed me hard today, especially on the 'detour'. I need to slow him down for tomorrow...
The fully-restored Jinshanling Great Wall. Very comfortable after rock-hopping all day.
The Jinshanling Wall
We saw three hikers and three angry peasants over the 11 km hike. Then we arrived at Jinshanling to find that a film production was in process. And Olivia Newton-John was scheduled to arrive the next day. Popular place...
The plan was for us to have dinner with a "local family". Turns out that the local family owns this bed & breakfast.
The Here Motel. It made my decision to sleep on the Great Wall look pretty good.
Dinner at the Here: Firewood Chicken eggs with tomatoes, soup, peanuts and vegetables. None of it was exceptionally hot and I was tempted to have a Cipro antibiotic as an appetizer. Turns out the food I ate was fine.
A spy shot of the newest KTM thumper. And I thought KTM's were made in Austria...