After having dreamed about walking the entire Great Wall of China since an early age, I finally made the choice to go through with the plan in 2008. After that, a lot of planning and preparations followed. I sold my house, most my belongings and set off on the adventure.
On these pages, you can follow me from the first, to the last footsteps along the Great Wall. I spent 20 months walking the Great Wall. Although most of the time was spent walking, I suffered a fracture in a big toe that set me back 7 weeks, periods during the summer and winter when the weather was too harsh to walk and numerous trips to Hong Kong to renew my VISA. I also needed to transport my cache with equipment as I couldn’t carry both summer, and winter camping gear on my back.
I walked together with my brother Jon the first two months, and am eternally grateful for that. My brother having lived in and studied Chinese language for several years made the transition from Norwegian culture, language and customs to the Chinese a little less brutal. After those two first months, I walked the rest of the Great Wall in solitude. Apart from the ‘day tourers’ on the most famous parts of the Great Wall, I only once saw other Great Wall hikers. I didn’t get to talk to them as it was in an desolate area of high ravines, and we missed each other along the way.
Only once was I recognized by a Chinese person along the way. My brother, two friends and I had hiked parts of the Great Wall back in 1998. More than 20 years later, I knocked on the door where we made friends with a family living by the Great Wall by Panjiakou. You can read more about that meeting here.