Trembling on Jiankou Great Wall

Written by Mr. LONGDRAGON Feb 24, 2010 20:50
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Jiankou stands for wildness, deterioration and even thriller to many backpackers. Those who conquer it would feel proud, great and confident. Last summer, as I had plenty time staying in Beijing, I made a long trek on Jiankou Great Wall. It was a life-enhancing trip, adventurous and interesting.

My best two friends joined in trip. We followed the travel strategy from the internet. First we took bus no.916 from Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station to Huairou county. The local private buses and cars could be found everywhere in Huairou county. The car fees to Jiankou Great Wall varied from CNY 30 to CNY 50 and took about 50 minutes.

The driver was a tremendous talker. Being a native, he was very familiar with the terrain and recommended strongly to us to taste the rainbow tout. “No other places to try the authentic rainbow tout than in Jiankou! You guys should seize the chance.” Under strong temptation and rumblings of an empty stomach, we decided to go first for the rainbow tout.

The car took us to the southern slope of Jiankou, where the famous rainbow tout farm located. Visitors could fish and rest at the farmhouses. The rainbow tout was surely fresh. You can eat it raw or bake it. We had the fish cooked in both ways.

Having consumed enough food and drink, we started climbing the mountain. First I used my alpenstock to save energy, after half an hour trekking, the terrain was generally becoming steep. The alpenstock was no use. We had to crawl on all-fours, “climbing the wall” in true sense! It was easily got lost in the mountain since there were so many forks. Along the route, many locals claimed to guide the way for us. We found a guide as he would help avoid us taking a roundabout. Another half an hour later, we climbed on the mountain and saw the wall.

What a wild wall! I would rather call it a pile of broken bricks than Great Wall. The “Beijing Knot” was the first difficult beacon tower we had to pass. We carefully took every step forward. Passing several easy beacon towers, we reached the famous “Eagle Flies Facing Upward”. Though having already experienced its danger from the photos on the internet, I still gasped at it: the “left wing of the eagle” was badly collapsed; the gradient of the mountain grew sharper; grass ran riot in the loosen bricks. For safety concern, we gave up climbing. Under the lead of our guide, we went up a long zigzag and finally detoured (see the importance of hiring a guide).

The next breaker ahead was the right wing of the “Eagle”. It was also a vertical broken wall and much higher than the left wing. One slip would be fatal. The pieces of bricks dropping from time to time would hit the climbers below it. I trembled with fear. Similarly, we went round it from the nearby mountains. The following way was much easier. The most difficult point on the way was the “Heavenly Ladder”. But we finally made it by braveness and reciprocate favors. When reaching “The General Guarding the Pass”, all of us felt exhausted and could not move any further. So we asked the guide to lead the way down the mountains and returned to Xizhazi Village.

We spent the night at Zhao’s Hostel. The uncle Zhao was warm hearted. He prepared the authentic peasant food for us. That night, we chatted happily at his courtyard. Raising my eyes to the sky, I saw many stars winking beyond the mist. The Great Wall was hidden on the skyline, creating the subtle atmosphere of the past.

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