19th of June
Or “Bomtur” as we say in Norway.
I took a bus from Huairou 8.30 that took me back to The Wall. After a meal, I followed a road to get to a small path that, according to my map, went parallel to The Wall on the Northern side.
It was very warm yesterday, and there was a solid climb uphill At half past one, I stopped for a rest at a small shop and had some cold Ice Tea. According to the owner of the shop, it is hottest between noon and two o’clock here, so now I know when to rest in the heat. In Gansu and Ningxia to the west, they hide from the sun between one and three o’clock. China is a large country and therefore covers several time zones although the whole country is on one time.
I went on and soon saw little parts of the Great Wall on the top of a mountain. In this area, there are steep enough mountains to take the job of the Great Wall.
I thought I found the path and started following it. In hindsight I should probably have walked a little further North to make sure there was not another path going eastwards. The path went close to the Great Wall. Soon it became smaller, but I went on as the map showed it should join up with a larger path after a few kilometres.
Soon though, I was following little more than an animal trail. There were planty of trees and bushes which the path went under and through. Then I heard the first thunder. From what I could see from under the trees it looked very local. First I sat down under the umbrella. When the lightning strikes got closer, it didn’t feel so safe to be holding a piece of metal in the air, so I got out the tent and draped it over me.
There was some hard rain, but after about an hour, the storm passed by. It stopped raining, although it continued to drip from the trees for a long time. I packed the tent and went on. It got a lot steeper, and by the time I had been walking for an hour I was completely drenched from all the water on the bushes. My trousers were clinging closely to my legs because of the water.
It felt like I was getting nowhere, and I was getting into an area with 5 to 10 metre high cliffs. The ground became very slippery because of the large stones which had wet moss and leaves covering them.
I decided reluctantly to turn around and head back. The sun was getting lower on the horizon and I started feeling cold. My boots were squishy squashy and every inch of clothing was soaked. There was a slight breeze when I got out of the thickest trees, making it even colder.
I quickly set up the tent, and got ready for the night. When I took off my smelly boots I saw water in them that I poured out. All the water from the bushes must have run along my legs into the boots…
It felt good to take off all my clothes, and snuggle in to my dry sleeping bag. I always have it in a waterproof pouch. No mobile coverage by the tent as expected, so this is yesterday’s report. I’m unsure what to do tomorrow, but may try to walk a little further North to see if there is a larger path. Just to the south, there was a pathed small road going eastwards for a couple of kilometres, and since the map was printed it may have been extended so I can use it. The problem is that I do not know, and the locals do not always know either. If I try three different options to follow The Wall closely the whole way, I’ll never get to Dandong so a part of me wants to follow larger roads to get more progression on this section where the Great Wall is fragmented by cliffs and mountains acting as part of The Wall.
14 kilometres today