There was a mixed feeling in the air. The thought of leaving the Great Wall was much like the thought of saying goodbye to a close friend. There was sadness in the thought of leaving, but hope in the thought of being able to come back to see this historical masterpiece again at some point in the future.
It was the final day of our Great Wall adventures. The camaraderie in our camp had reached its pinnacle when we gathered together the night before to celebrate mid-autumn. The full moon was the biggest, closest, and brightest supermoon in 12 years. The experience of that evening is something that I will treasure forever.
Our final day of the 2015 Great Wall trip started with a 30 minutes bus ride to Jinshanling. The atmosphere in the bus was more quiet, than normal. It seemed all of us were hesitant in wanting to say a farewell to our wonderful journey.
We were informed that it would take about 3 to 4 hours to arrive at our final stopping point with a total distance of 6 kilometers. Though not an incredibly long adventure compared to some of the others that the Great Wall provides, it seemed like the longest distance one could ever imagine. The Great Wall had challenged us, inspired us, and brought us together. We were weary, but pulled our energy together for this one final adventure.
History & Importance of Jinshanling
The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is one of the best preserved parts of the entire structure. It still has intact some of the many original features that were placed upon it when the Wall was first built. It received its name because it was named after the Greater and Lesser Jinshan, or “Gold Mountain’” Ranges during the Ming Dynasty.
The isolated location of this part of the Great Wall has likely contributed to its preservation. That isolation also meant that there were magnificent vistas offered to each each of us on this last leg of our journey. The changing of the seasons might be at its most spectacular in all the world thanks to the uniqueness and diversity of the landscape.
According to our guide, Jinshanling is Great Wall’s worst kept secret. Every year renowned photographers from all over China and around the world choose this section because of its fantastic landscapes, no matter which season of the year it happens to be. When setting my own eyes upon the alluring view, it is quite easy to see why this section of the Great Wall is so addictive.
With just one visit, every visitor will easily understand what this monument has to offer us today. The perspectives are humbling.
The Final Journey
As we traveled along this final part of our adventure, there were signs on each major watchtower to inform us all about the history and importance that encompasses this section of the Great Wall. Being able to gain a new perspective of what makes this particular spot so incredibly unique and special was a meaningful surprise that I will not soon forget.
I admit that my expectations for this journey were much different thanks to what I experienced with last year’s Great Wall trip. This may have been my greatest learning lesson of all that the Great Wall provided me this year. Each year, each season, and even each day offered new surprises, new experiences, and new chances to see something brand new even in the areas that I had previously explored.
The contrasting colors were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The unique views still took my breath away. The sense of wonder that comes from standing on such a testament to human ingenuity still brought contemplation to my soul.
I could not feel any luckier to have been given the chance to explore one of the world’s most incredible wonders once again. I was given the privilege of meeting many amazing people who were full of life and equally excited about forming their own friendship with the Great Wall. Together the new perspectives gained and appreciation shared helped me to realize just how special this place can be.
There is still a twinge of sadness that comes with the goodbye said to the Great Wall that day. Thank you to the team who made this adventure for me something that will change my life in many ways. The hope of meeting again one day helps to reinforce for me the lessons taught to me on this journey. The Great Wall was calling… and I went and it changed my life. Maybe it will change yours as well.
The activities for Day 5 was recorded using the Fitbit Surge.
View my Fitbit Profile here
The Great Wall of China hike #gwc2015 was organised by TravelledPaths.com and supported by the Singapore Adventurous Nature Lovers’ meetup group. If you are interested in joining TravelledPaths’ organised meetups, please subscribe to our mailing list here
The Great Wall of China Hike Season 2