The 2nd season of the Great Wall of China hike began with an early morning wake-up call in Beijing and getting prepared to make the 4.5-hour drive to Hebei. After the epic adventure we had in our visit in 2014, I was eager to let all the fun begin! This year we had a total of 23 participants. A quick stop for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant was both delicious and perfect as it held us for the rest of the trip to our tour of the Shanghaiguan Great Wall Museum.
A Much Anticipated Journey
Walking up to the museum itself, I knew it was going to be a great time as it was in fact built in the shape and structure of the Great Wall itself. An intriguing beginning to the start of the tour, we continued on to not only learn about the incredible history of the Great Wall, but also the significance and importance that it serves today. It also displayed the current conditions of it presently.
Being able to expand my understanding of this matchless wonder of the world through detailed write-ups and the artifacts on display were definitely an eye-opening experience. A visit to the city of Shanghaiguan is never complete without a tour of the Great Wall Museum.
Once we departed from the Great Wall Museum, it was now time for the highlight of the day…the visit to Laolongtou.
An Important Part of Great Wall History
Serving as the most eastern section of the Great Wall, as well as its starting point (or ending point, depending on how you see it), the Old Dragon’s Head, or Laolongtou, is located just 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of Shanhai Pass and extends to a total of 23 meters (75 feet) into the Bohai Sea. This makes it look as if it is a dragon dipping his head to drink water from the sea, which is of course how it was given its name.
Not only does this part of the wall look incredibly awesome, it also was used as an important part of the military defense system during the Ming Dynasty from 1368-1644. In the year 1900, it was destroyed by the Eight Power Allied Force and was not rebuilt until much later in 1984 by the people of Shanhaiguan City. It is also partly comprised of the most celebrated architectural structure, the Chenghai Pavilion along with other impressive structures including the Estuary Stone City, the Nereus Temple, the Nanhaokou Pass, the Jinglu Beacon Tower and Ninhai City.
A Short But Sweet Journey
Though this part of the adventure was quite short, it was also absolutely fantastic being able to be amongst such an impressive structure that has seen so much history and something that is known by millions of people throughout the world. Just exploring Laolongtou and its surroundings, we were able to get a unique view of the many structures that makes up this part of the wall. The first-hand experience to see it and wonder at the true magnificence, size and power that it holds puts life into perspective. With plenty of pictures taken and a short, but sweet journey around this awesome place, it could not have gone or ended any better than it did.
As a traveler, I get the opportunity to see things that many people have only heard of, read about, or viewed pictures of online or through friends of friends. One of the most rewarding aspects of journeys like this one today at Laolongtou is to take all of the knowledge and information I have gained through museums, magazines, and blog posts to be able to stand directly in front and walk amongst such an insanely impressive structure and destination.
Pictures are beautiful, but seeing something with your own eyes changes your soul. I can’t wait to learn how the Old Dragon’s Head is going to change me now and into the future.
I walked 12,244 steps today.
Today’s activities were recorded using Fitbit Surge.
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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
More pics from the hike at Laolongtou
The Great Wall of China Hike Season 2