23rd of May (didn’t have internet connection yesterday)
Started at about 3 o’clock today and had to climb a pretty steep section to get out of Zhangjiakou. Hot sun, not much wind and therefore lots and lots of sweat.
Some observations. The first is that it is green here! After so long in a desert and then the cold and white winter, it is Great to see everything growing around me. The bushes make the walking more challenging since they are very dense sometimes, and they make it harder finding a camp site. It is a lot more hilly which is a nice change. This too makes it hard to find flat ground for a tent, and makes the walking harder.
Today I was surprised by a thunderstorm that passed by me within a little more than an hour. It crept upon me from behind, and I was so busy climbing the first steep hill that I didn’t notice it till the first thunder roar.
The whole horizon behind me was a dark gray wall. I was on top of the Great Wall, and it took a little time to find a place to escape from it. I walked down for a while, but there was nowhere to get out of the rain or set up the tent.
In the end I found about 1.5 square metres that were flat and quickly lay the tent down, and put the rucksack and myself inside. There was not enough room to use the tent poles, so it was draped on top of me. The worst of the weather went south of me.
It was a good and kind first lesson about lightning and the Great Wall. From now on I will scan the horizon more often, and take action sooner when I see bad weather coming my way.
Due to the dense shrubs, hilly terrain and a Wall that was hard to walk on, as it consisted of lose rocks, it went slowly. At the end of the day, I spent longer than anticipated in finding a camp site.
Am really tired now – perhaps because of the cold the last days. I am very excited about these next days and hope my knees manage the terrain OK.
8 kilometres today