Yesterday I pitched my tent just above a village where I was sure they would have a small shop so that I could stock up on fluids. On arrival, there were eight middle-aged and older women sitting in the main street. They were chatting and obviously happy for the nice and warm weather, although they still had there woollen hats on. There were a lot of pigs walking around freely too. Some of them were bathing in a mud bath close by – both really small, and a couple that were absolutely enormous!! I couldn’t understand how their four legs could support them.
I asked the women if there was a shop, and they pointed towards a building on the other side of the street. I couldn’t see a shop there, and it turned out they had pointed at a small truck by the road. It was a mobile shop that drove around in the area. Unfortunatly, the truck-shop didn’t sell anything drinkable which was too bad as it was going to be a pretty long and warm day. One of the women kindly offered me some Kai Shui – boiled water – and I bought an instant noodle package from the shop. I also got to fill up an MSR water bag with about 1.5 litres of boiling water. Then I sat down with the women watching the pigs being chased by a dog while I ate the noodles.
The walk eastwards from the village was nice. Although it was a little hilly, the terrain was softer. The Great Wall was just a shadow of itself with just a ‘pile of rocks’ showing it’s route through the landscape. Some places, I had a problem seeing The Wall and had to check where it was a few times before walking on. The wind blew enough to keep things cool. There was not a cloud in the sky the first half of the day.
By the time I got to my destination, I was really thirsty. I reckon I was about 1.5 litres down on water. There was a shop there, so I bought some Ice Tea, and drank half a litre before doing anything else. The bus ride down to Zhangjiakou was steep and long. Many places, they had short bylanes to the road in a steep ascent with lose gravel. These are made so that if a vehicle loses it’s breaks, they can steer in to the bylanes for an emergency stop. There were tyre marks in more than one of them!
24 kilometres today