I finally visited the Great Wall this weekend! We left right after school to travel by bus to the Simatai section of the Wall. We arrived around 5:30pm and hiked up to see the sunset. Unfortunately it was not very clear so we couldn't see anything. Those of us who hadn't yet been to the Wall were too excited to notice anyway. We went to our hotel and had a huge delicious dinner (Naysan - I had someone take pictures! They will be up on flickr as soon as they share them with me!). By 8pm we were all pretty tired so we relaxed for a bit and went to bed.
We all made it safely across and began our hike. The weather was nice and cool but there was quite a bit of fog so we didn't have high hopes for seeing the sunrise. As we got higher and further along the Wall, we ended up getting above the fog and glanced over our shoulders for a beautiful sunrise.
The hike basically went very steeply down, more flat for a bit, and then very steeply up...over and over again. It was about 10 miles and hard work, but gorgeous views the entire time.
Some parts of the Wall were pretty rugged with no walls, some loose stones, and plenty on which to trip. These areas sometimes had very narrow steps or no steps. But at the very end of our trip we found a restored section of the Wall. Although it was much easier to walk on the restored section, the old sections that were not restored were far more interesting.
We passed through about 30 watchtowers during the hike from Simatai to Jingshanling. Originally, we were supposed to go the other direction, but I liked our hike and the fact that the sun was behind us instead of in our faces during the hike.
After getting back to the city after lunch, we showered, rested, and got more massages. It was definitely earned! My muscles felt okay yesterday, but my calves are oh-so-sore today. Maybe another massage is in order.....
I will post the rest of my pictures and the ones from the other people on my flickr site this week. Unfortunately, when I had someone take my picture in the last week or so, they pushed some buttons and changed my camera settings to a lower quality picture. I wish I had noticed this before I took all these pictures of the Great Wall but I just noticed when I was uploading the pictures. Hopefully, I will get to go to the Great Wall under similar conditions another time to get some better quality pictures. At least these ones are good for blogging!