Jiankou, a Remote Portion of the Great Wall of China
This is one of the lesser known portions of the Great Wall, Jiankou. It is unrestored, untrafficked, and absolutely stunning. We saw 2 other people while on this unrestored section. We slept the night before at Zhao's Homestay in a small village about an hour out of Beijing. In the morning, we hired a girl form the homestay to take us up to one of the entry points on this portion of the Great Wall. We then hiked for several hours along Jiankou, which gradually merged with Mutainyu restored Great Wall, and then we went down the cable car. It was an absolutely unique and incredible experience, and I'd recommend this hike to anyone.
Full account here: http://aliscottwhatwegetupto.blogspot.ca/2012/03/great-wall-of-china.html
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Night on the Great Wall
February 8, 2010- During a two week trek across China, my friend and I decided to head out to the Great Wall. We arrived early in the morning to avoid crowds and we asked an unmarked taxi to take us to a different location then from where a usual tourist might go. The driver dropped us off, and my friend and I began walking the Great Wall, with no one in sight. The views were spectacular, and the snow on the wall made some beautiful pictures. As the day progressed, we walked further and further from where we originally started. As the afternoon approached, we realized that we had to be back by 6:00pm to catch the last bus to Beijing. I asked my friend if we should go back, or if we should stick around(since we had the necessary food, water, and extra clothes) and make an adventure out of it. We decided to stay. We continued walking the wall, and we were amazed by the beautiful scenes we encountered as the sun set. We ended up sleeping in a guard tower, and we used our extra socks and jackets as cushions against the floor. The following morning we walked back to a main road and found a taxi that took us back to a bus station. It was truly a memorable experience.
This was taken a couple of years ago, when I went on my first major trip solo (well, solo as part of a tour group). This remains one of my all time favourite pictures. Rather than go to the more crowded Badaling section of the Great Wall, our guide took us to the Jinshanling-Simatai section. At the time, there was approximately 10.5km of walkable wall. Two of my tourmates decided to do the entire section (there were parts that were crumbling), but the rest of us decided to get down to level ground for a little and walk alongside the wall. Accept the help of the guides - they will show you where to step so you don't slip or fall.