Stone and Brick outlast even the finest structures built simply with wood and earth. As we travel along life’s journey think about things in your life currently that needs to be re-established. Though it may take time to restructure and rebuild things, but remember, even the Great Wall of China must be maintained.
~ Travelled Paths ~
The air is cold. Not brutally cold where your breath turns into a cloud of ice fog when it escapes, but still cold enough that you are inspired to keep moving in order to stay warm. There’s a freshness to the cold air that is unique. It is sweet.
As the fog begins to roll in, one adventurer sits by himself along the Great Wall. The moon is rising and his spirits are conflicted. Some of his thoughts are directed at home. He’s missing his family, wishing that they were here to experience the majesty of this moment with him. He’s also incredibly moved by how nature is moving around him. In this one instant, the flow of energy in everything around him and through him has made itself known.
The adventurer has discovered the world. The world, it seems, has discovered him as well.
In these quiet, chilly moments, an epiphany is found. Life has become so busy that the perfect moments in life have become ordinary moments. Instead of the joy of a sunrise, the focus has been on the potential stressful events of the coming day. Instead of the magic of a child’s laughter, the focus has been on the failures of everyone around him.
The adventurer sighs heavily. It isn’t a painful burden on his soul, but it is a heavy one. As the moon shines down against the coming fog, a vow is made. Many have stood to fight for their homeland on the Great Wall over the century. The adventurer will do the same, but not for the horizons that surround him now.
No. The adventurer vows that he will be the change that the world is asking him to be. A slight smile finds its way to his lips. It’s time to find a blanket.
Our Itinerary- Jinshanling Part 2 (Day 5)
What makes the Great Wall at Jinshanling a wonderful visit is that it is one of the best preserved sections of the entire landmark. It has many of its original features and is easily accessible to people of many skill levels. The name Jinshanling comes from the mountain ranges that surround it.
Built initially in the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt two centuries later by General Qi Jiguang, there are many tablet writings and poetry that can be found scattered about the Wall, left there like hidden gems amongst the brick and stone.
The initial section of wall where our group walked was restored to its original condition, but that restoration slowly fades out as it approaches Simatai. The views are stunning, the walking perfect in the fully restored areas, and the perfect conclusion to a life changing adventure.
- Level of difficulty: Easy
- Type of terrain: The reconstructed and repaired section of the Jinshanling wall made it easily accessible and safe for people to walk.
- It was said if you have only 1 day to tour the Great Wall during your China trip, this route would be it. There are so many scenic spots! It is amazing from all viewpoints.
- Weather: A clear, sunny day!
As I walked along the Great Wall on the last day of our trip, I tried to put myself into the shoes of Shihuangdi, General Qi Jiguang, Lady Meng and the soldiers who fought on the Great Wall to defend China, to imagine what might have gone through their mind when they stood on the wall.
I find that I’m left in wonder. The Great Wall must have seemed like the best chance for survival, but it was also a last chance. If the wall was breached, then repelling the invaders would be difficult at best. I can feel the quiet hope… but there’s also a quiet desperation that still hangs about each stone and each brick.
The Great Wall in all its majesty, captivates your soul. It allows you to revel into fantasies of emperors, conquerers and warlords dating back to 2000 over years. Why do they keep building and lengthening the wall? Is it just to keep the invaders out of central China or an unstoppable obsession to leave a legacy for people to remember them by (like the Great Pyramid, Taj Mahal)
The Great Wall, in all its splendor, is only a thin line when viewed from outer space. Like life itself, there is a thin line between peace and war, between glory and hatred, and between homecoming and separation. Is it so necessary that this thin line must be crossed by others? It has caused a grand monument like the Great Wall to be built, but it is almost embarrassing that the monument is needed in the first place.
Was the Great Wall built to keep the enemies from coming in, or was it really built to preserve one’s legacy from fading away? The same question exists about life. When we build a wall around us, is it done so that others will not hurt us?
Or are we just too afraid to let ourselves out to embrace the world?
The Great Wall stretches on for miles and miles, beyond where any eyes can see from the ground. No matter how far my imagination might take me, the experience is quite overwhelming. The ambitions of the emperors, the sweat and blood of the labourers, the cries of the widows, and the angst of the soldiers… it consumes me.
The team gathers for this last picture to be taken on the Great Wall. Our 5 day odyssey has ended. Friendships have been forged through the rain, the heat from the scorching sun, the extreme coldness from the night of camping, and through fun and laughter we shared along the way. We have met our objectives and completed the hike – a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget.
Goodbye to the heroes of the past. Goodbye to the Great Wall.
There is still so much of you that have yet to be seen and experienced. We will leave you today , but we will come back another day for another blogfull of adventures.
Follow our series on the Great Wall Hike 2014
Day 1 – The Great Wall of China Hike (HuangHuaCheng)
Day 2 – The Great Wall of China Hike (Jiankou)
Day 3 – The Great Wall of China Hike (Jiankou to Mutianyu)
Day 4 – The Great Wall of China Hike (Gubeikou to Jinshanling)
Day 5 – The Great Wall of China Hike (Jinshanling to West Simatai)
See the video we have created from the images we captured during this journey