Reaching Hebei

It snowed this morning, but only a little. When I packed the tent, there was a thick fog and behind me I could only see the first couple of watchtowers that I had passed on the way down from the Erlang mountains. Yesterday I took some great pictures showing lots of watchtowers and the Great Wall in a mountainous terrain.

Speaking of “Terrain”. I have added a Terrain button on the Great Wall Route page. This makes it a lot easier to see the topography of the areas I will be walking through in Hebei, Beijing and Liaoning. I have set it as a default view.

If you zoom in, it might be more interesting to look at the satellite images. Just press the “Satellite” button in the top right hand corner of the map.

In the small village Xinping Buzhen, I had a large meal, and then looked for a small guesthouse. It was only about noon, but I wanted a night in a guesthouse, and thought I could leave the sleeping bag, tent and other non essentials for the rest of the day there. I ended up in a home where I had a room for myself paying only 10 RMB which was a good deal.

Then I went back to the Great Wall and continued northwards only to be stopped by a river that had enough water in it to stop me. The large meal made me unsure of whether I needed to go to the ‘toilet’ or not. (That is a nice way of saying finding a suitable place no-one can see you) After three tries in a row, and bowels that were giving conflicting signals, things settled down. I managed to hitch a ride with a farmer on his cart over the river leaving my feet and boots nice and dry.

Walking eastwards, the Great Wall clung to the next set of mountains. There were a lot of small villages on the southern (protected) side of the Great Wall, and it was fun to see people out and about enjoying the warmer weather. The strange thing though is that I do not always feel so welcome. I like to say Hi to people in Chinese when I’m walking, but more often than not they just look at me with a a face without much expression. I suppose it is that I may very well be the first white person they have seen, and they are unsure whether to run for it, or to run in to the house, and come back carrying a small child, so it can get it’s first glance of a foreigner. (Both happen!)

My brilliant plan of hitching a ride back to the guesthouse didn’t seem so brilliant when it turned out that the road going to the south of the Great Wall was not connected to a larger road to the east. I had avoided it opting for smaller dirt roads and fields and therefore had not observed how little traffic it had. It was getting dark already when I started walking on the road heading back to the guesthouse. After only 10-15 minutes, a small van with workers pulled up and offered me a lift back ‘home’. Thank you!!