Today has been a really hard day. It felt like anything I stepped on either rolled away, slid away or crumbled away.
The terrain has been challenging. It goes either up or down. The Great Wall follows ridges all the time. The ground has granite stones and other stones that look solid but can crumble or break off when stepped on. The Great Wall has mostly been too damaged to walk on. That leaves the steep sides of The Wall to walk on. The ground is scattered with crumbled rock ‘sand’ about the size of a dice. In addition there are fist to head sized rocks. This makes the walking really hard as the ground can and does slide away every so often.
The watchtowers along The Wall have been great! Most of them had an entrance only on the second floor (or first floor as opposed to the ground floor) It looked strange but on closer inspection each entrance, high above the ground, had two solid rocks sticking out on either side. They were chisseled and acted as solid hooks. I can imagine they were used to fasten a rope ladder or such, to enable soldiers to get up and down.
The Great Wall has had it’s typical cross section square shape for a long time. Today however I saw a new style that was triangular. It is about 3 to 5 metres high, and only a foot or two wide at the top. The sides were skillfully crafted and smooth making it impossible to get over with a horse. A soldier, or ten, could however easily climb over it in the cover of night.
That is probably why the guards wanted the safety of sleeping high above the ground with the rope ladder pulled up.
It rained last night. Quite hard. It was the first rainfall on the tent since last Autumn, so I checked for leaks. There is a slight leak at a seam by the door. The tent has been harder to set up after I started using the extra ground sheet. I suspect it is pulling the six corners together too tightly. As a result there has been a lot of tension on the zipper sometimes. That probably caused the leak. Not serious, and it will be fixed with some seam sealer. Soon I will have a different solution for extra ground sheet which should solve the tension problem.
Small observations: Saw 2010’s two first butterflies today. They were yellow. For the first time I have seen that some watchtowers have plaques/signs above the doors. I saw the first birch tree along the Great Wall today. Made me think of home.
I am really exhausted now. I have only 1.5 litre of life-giving Ice Tea left.
20 kilometres today