Climbing the Jiankou portion of the Great Wall is an exhausting but amazing day hike adventure. This section of the wall dates back to the 14thcentury of the Ming Dynasty. To reach this section we started in a little village at the bottom of a mountain, and climbed our way up the steep cliffs to where we finally reached the deteriorated, but still amazing Jiankou section of The Great Wall.
We had a great tour guide named Jack, who led us up the mountain by climbing over rocks, traversing along narrow, overgrown pathways, dodging bumblebees, looking for snakes yet surrounded by amazing views of blooming magnolias, blue skies, puffy clouds, and incredible views of the Great Wall.
After about a mile straight up the mountainous, and sometimes treacherous terrain, we reached the deteriorating section of Jiankou. We first noticed the large white stones at the top of the mountain that
were built under the wall itself.
We had to climb a little ladder to get onto the actual wall from the side of the mountain but once we did, we saw that the wall was nothing like I had seen on my previous visits.
Due to the need of major renovation, this area of the wall is considered one of the most dangerous sections. As we walked along the wall, we found ourselves again traversing along narrow pathways, ducking beneath overgrown trees and weeds, and stepping over fallen areas of the wall. This was certainly not reflective of the majestic portions of the area that most tourists visit. Its glory and purpose had faded over the centuries, but it was still incredible just the same.
There are so many stories and legends surrounding the construction of The Great Wall. Our guide told us that the mortar used to cement some areas of the rocks on the wall was made from rice flour. It is also said that many people lost their lives during the construction of the wall and are buried right inside. Oh if these walls could talk.
After a couple of miles of climbing, jumping, ducking, dodging and taking many pictures, the old met the new. The Jiankou section finally connected to the refurbished area called Mutianyu. This section is a most amazing sight when you first see it. I really didn’t think seeing a wall could possibly be as fascinating, but it really was an incredible sight.
A few more miles and a couple of rain showers later, we started our descent down the mountain. There were a couple of options to get to the bottom, however two of them, the tobaggon and cable car were closed due to the rain. We finally decided to take the “ski lift” to the bottom. Our scenic and amazing 7 hour adventure was over.