Monday, February 08, 2010

Another day, another winter Wall hike


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Today was crisp and sunny and I had a very productive day, waking up and
writing from about 7-12, then taking a great wall hike for a few hours and
plugging away a bunch more hours into the evening, with a break for a lovely
dinner with Jim Spear.

In all the many, many times I have come here to Mutianyu I had never walked
up to the Wall instead of taking the cable car. For shame. I trekked up
today and it was just about 20-30 minutes, mostly up stone steps. I got up
there and was virtually alone and hiked all the way to the other end of the
Wall from what I did yesterday. I got to the last watchtower open for public
consumption and continued on past the closed sign. It had been a long time
since I ventured onto the wild Wall, but I have had many memorable hikes on
such sections. I was alone so I proceed cautiously through the overgrown
section, which has not been modified since the Ming Dynasty ended 400 or so
years ago. It was in pretty good shape as these sections go.

It was very beautiful and peaceful up there. I did run across a Taiwanese
mechanic for Delta Airlines, who seems to be up here to train his
counterparts in Beijing. Very nice guy and we hiked for quite a while,
taking each other's pictures, before he turned around and headed back.

I was going to hike back down but was surprised to see the alpine slide open
so I jumped on and got down in two minutes. I did that to save a half hour
and get back to work as much as anything.