The Great Wall of China

September 2012

The Great Wall of China. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!!!!!!

I don’t know what to say. I am completely unmotivated to type out anything because I feel like words can’t really do it justice.

The Great Wall…made me feel small.

The Great Wall…made the world feel old.

The Great Wall…made me feel peace of mind.

It looked so much bigger and majestic-er in real life too! I wish that these pictures could capture the scale.

I took the metro then a bus then a terrifying taxi ride out to Gubeikou Village so that I could spend a few days hanging out with The Wall. There are day trips that one can do from Beijing but the parts of the wall you visit from there are said to be much more crowded. I haven’t been so I can’t say, but I do know that I didn’t see one other soul while walking along The Wall here, other than the British girl I met at my hostel who went up with me!

Being so solitary on that hike was so cool. I felt like it was probably such a different thing to experience the wall for the first time without the madness of other tourists. I mean, I am happy to be a tourist and I’d actually love to go to The Wall outside Beijing too, as I think it’s wider at some of those points, but for my first encounter, I was glad it was here.

My hostel was a 10 minute walk from the start of a trail on the wall. The first day I hiked for more or less 5 hours (or maybe a little more, I can’t remember anymore). It wasn’t the hardest hiking I’d ever done…but some parts were really steep and since the wall here isn’t restored in a lot of parts, the trail was a little crumbly at times.

Once you get past this section you come to a part that has been restored and you have to pay a fee to enter. We had been hiking for about four hours (yes, going back down was way faster) at this point and didn’t really care about going in so we turned around there.

The views were incredible. The Wall goes on as far as you can see in both directions. It’s so stunning. 

These are the kinds of stairs we were climbing up the majority of the time. It’s a little hard to get good footing on such rocky terrain!

When we reached a look out point I took some time to stop and get out my journal for a bit. It sounds kind of weird to say this when I’ve done so much exciting stuff lately, but of my past 6 months of travel, that moment that I stopped, sat down on the wall, and wrote to my heart’s content, was one of my best travel memories. I felt clear headed and happy hearted.

I had fun imagining what it must have been like to be one of those ancient Chinese hanging out on guard at one of the watch towers along the way. Who they were on guard for, I’m not sure…the mongols maybe?

If we’re already friends on Facebook, then you may have seen this photo before. This is me on The Very Windy Great Wall of China rocking out in my pajamas with no hair tie like a CHAMP! Don’t be jealous of my crazy awesome style, yo!

No English version of this sign but I’m guessing that this is China’s answer to Smokey the Bear.

I really love this next shot. The black and whites are kind of drawing me in, even though the colors were unbelievably beautiful.

The second day I did another shorter hike. My British friend and I decided to go up onto The Wall for sunset. It was a little chillier than I had anticipated and I didn’t have any weather appropriate clothes (as always, when do I ever manage to pack appropriately?). But the view was totally worth it.

Even though the pictures and my descriptions really don’t do it justice, I hope you could at least get some small sense of just how majestic and incredible The Great Wall of China really is.


  1. Kai says:

    Picture #13 is stunning. I’m going to head to bed and have a dream about it.

  2. Deidre says:

    Kyle these are so fantastic!! I know what you mean, sometimes just sitting down and having a bit of a write and think in such a gorgeous place filled with so much history is all we need! :)

  3. Clare says:

    Wow! Beautiful. Now I so want to go.

    Also, nice new look for the blog. Because I follow your RSS feed, I hadn’t noticed the change until I came over today to talk about China. Wow! Love the color!

  4. Ceri says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen pictures that have shown the Wall looking so incredible before. Kyle, you’re amazingly talented. All of these are so stunning.

  5. Rita says:

    If I ever get to the wall, I’d love to be a lone (or almost alone) traveler on it. Must have been incredible.

  6. Andrea says:

    Wow – definitely awe-inspiring. I knew there were hills but I didn’t realize how high the Great Wall is!

  7. la portada en blanco y negro esta para colgarla en el muro… suerte de tener esas nubes!

  8. Dennis Pike says:

    seriously? SERIOIUSLY!? no really, seriously? I could handle most of the western hemisphere… I could handle Europe. But having to look at your photos of the great wall may just make my head explode with envy!

    Super awesome Kyle.

  9. Good call on getting some alone time with the Wall. Although I love your photos, but I can imagine it is something that can never truly be felt unless you are there in person.

Speak Your Mind