China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

After a good nights sleep we all awoke – stiff and in pain from all the steep steps of day 1 – and hobbled down to breakfast.

Today we were walking to the start point on the Gubeikou wall and so no need to get the coach, although the coach would be waiting at the end of the walk, so after breakfast we had to pack all our stuff and put it on the coach ready.

We also made our packed lunch again (same yellow bread as day 1) and filled up our water bottles ready for the trek ahead.


Great Wall of China Trek: Day 2 – Gubeikou Section

When we were all ready, at around 8.30 am we started walking through the pretty little village of Gubeikou to the start point of the trek.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou village
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou village

It was a steep and challenging ascent up to the top of the wall(especially with sore calves from day 1) but the views were amazing on the way up.

China Trek Day 2 - Hike up to Gubeikou
Views on the hike up to Gubeikou – you can see the wall on the top of the mountain ahead

The Gubeikou section of the wall was completely different from the Jinshanling section on day 1. It was not restored/well preserved. It was rugged and crumbly with uneven terrain which was difficult to walk on in parts, there were also some really narrow sections with huge drops either side, which was quite scary for some people in our group.

China Trek Day 2 - narrow section of the wall at Gubeikou
Narrow section of the wall at Gubeikou

Despite this, I quite enjoyed this part of the wall. It’s more how I imagined the walking to be on this challenge and it was far less touristy – in fact we didn’t see another soul on this part of the wall, except for another charity walking group like us.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

After walking for a while we had a break which was a chance for a quick rest and to take in those amazing views. We were lucky again with the weather today, around 16 degrees and pure blue skies which meant the views were stunning.

China Trek Day 2 - rest stop at Gubeikou
China Trek Day 2 – rest stop at Gubeikou

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou

After the break and a quick snack, there was a very steep climb up to one of the towers in the distance. This bit was very challenging as the terrain was uneven and there were some bits where we had to scramble up and over rocks.

China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 - Gubeikou steep climb up
China Trek Day 2 – Gubeikou steep climb up

After the steep climb we stopped for lunch and the views again were breathtaking.

China Trek Day 2 - Views from the top at Gubeikou
China Trek Day 2 – Views from the top at Gubeikou

Then came the descent back down, which I actually found harder than going up as it was a challenge not to slip as the path was steep and quite sandy and slippy in places. In fact, I had my first slip on the way down the Gubeikou section. Luckily I was ok but I bruised my leg and knee quite a bit.

After a long and challenging day, we headed back to the coach and the drive to the next place we were staying. It was actually a hotel tonight (Shuangyang Hotel) rather than a lodge and we were in more of a built up area rather than the middle of nowhere like the last two nights.

On first glance the hotel looked nice and quite fancy compared to where we had been staying the previous two nights. However the downside was that there was no heating because the certain parts of the city of Beijing are not allowed to switch heating on until the 11th November! So it was verrry cold.

Tonight, we had a few hours to spare before the evening meal so we showered and changed and decided to head out into the area we were staying and explore.

We had time to visit a couple of supermarkets and that was an experience as everyone was staring at us!

I fancied some crisps but it appears they only have strange flavoured crisps in China..I settled for some cucumber crisps as I was intrigued, but they weren’t great in all honesty..

 

China Trek Day 2 - Cucumber Crisps
China Trek Day 2 – Cucumber Crisps

We then headed back to the hotel for food and it was another nice Chinese meal.

China Trek Day 2 - Chinese Meal

There was no bar (Chinese hotels don’t tend to have bars which I found very odd) so we sat in the lobby and chatted for a bit before heading to bed, it was very cold though so we didn’t stay up too late tonight.

We then headed back to our rooms and packed our bags ready for day 3 and the move to the next hotel.

 

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop

Great Wall of China Trek: Day 1 – Jinshanling Loop

Hi guys!

Well I’m back from China and what a fabulous experience it was. I wanted to write a blog post each day I was there but I didn’t have my laptop in China and so I thought I’d write a day by day update now I’m back.

Overall, I had an amazing time and met some truly inspirational people, who all had personal challenges to overcome.

Fitness wise, it was challenging but surprisingly I didn’t find it too bad. The bigger challenge for me was the rough terrain and the steepness, as slipping was a real concern.

I think all the running I did beforehand really helped with the fitness side though. Before I went, I was worried about how my back would cope and I was right to worry. On day 3 I managed to injure my shoulder, which was very painful for the remainder of the trip.

I think this was a result of carrying a heavy back pack while trekking. My shoulder is still very sore and it feels like I have torn the muscles there. Due to my scoliosis, I already had weakness there, as the muscles are weaker on one side. This is where I have also strained my muscles previously by running. So I think the combination of the heavy back pack and swinging of the walking poles must have been pulling on this and it kind of re-ignited the previous injury.

In all honestly, I was a bit upset by this, as I wasn’t able to carry a backpack for days 4 and 5. This made me feel like a bit of a failure, like my back let me down and it also made me feel like I’m not invincible!

Luckily, everyone was so kind and carried my kit and water for me so I could continue on with the challenge (even though it was very painful).

The best part was that I managed to raise OVER £1,000 for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! I really can’t believe it and I’m so grateful to everyone who donated and made this possible.

I’m going to leave my page open for donations until the end of November, so if you’d like to donate and support me and others with scoliosis, you can so so via this link.  🙂


Day 1: Jinshanling Loop

We had arrived in Beijing the previous afternoon, very tired and very jet lagged! After checking into the Impression Lodge and having a brief use of the WiFi, we headed to the restaurant for a yummy Chinese meal and a couple of beers. This was a chance to get to know the others in the group a bit more (some of us had already met in the airport/on the plane) – there were 17 of us all together.

As we were all tired, after a couple of drinks and a briefing about plans for the next day, we headed back to our rooms and packed our day sacks ready for the first day of trekking.

China Trek Day 1-Impression Lodge
China Trek Day 1-Impression Lodge

On day 1, we woke up early and headed to breakfast, after which we made our packed lunches, which consisted of strange yellow Chinese bread and some fruit and biscuits, and we filled our water bottles/bladders. At this point it still felt surreal to us all that we were actually in China and about to do what we were going to do!

We then got onto the coach, taking all our bags and stuff with us, as the next night we were staying at a different lodge. This part was a bit of a pain for me as lugging my huge rucksack around was really not easy! Most of the time I dragged it along the floor or some one helped me with it (luckily).  We travelled about an hour or so to our first challenge: the Jinshanling Loop.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop Sign

We felt very lucky on the first day as the weather was perfect for walking and for getting some truly stunning views of the wall – it was sunny with pure blue skies and a high of around 17/18 degrees.

When we arrived, we had a quick toilet break and our first experience of the Chinese “squatting” toilets! Luckily they were clean but it was a strange experience initially, as we are not used to them back in the UK. We then walked up to the visitor gate and got ourselves ready, sorted out our walking poles etc and headed on for the first part of the trek.

To get onto the wall itself, we first had to walk up ALOT of steps and I think this is the first point where I (and others) realised how tough this was going to be. It took at least an hour of climbing what felt like endless steps before we made it onto the wall, but when we did, my god the views were worth it. This was the first time we had properly seen the wall itself and I was taken aback by how beautiful it was, especially as it was such a clear day and you could see the wall snaking around the mountains for miles and miles.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop

One of the main things that hit me at this point was also how steep the wall was! The word of the week was undulating – as it was pretty much constant ups and downs. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the sheer steepness, as we really have nothing like it back in the UK. The pictures don’t do it justice but I took some pictures just to try and show how steep it was. All I can say is I really don’t know how people manage to run the Great Wall of China marathon on here!!!

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling Loop 3

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling - steep steps
China Trek Day 1 – Jinshanling – steep steps
China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling - more steep steps
China Trek Day 1 – Jinshanling – more steep steps

After a few hours of trekking, we stopped for lunch and a bit of a rest and the views were just insane. We all said we didn’t think we’d ever had a better view for lunch before! Even if we did have to eat strange yellow bread 😉

China Trek Day 1 - lunch
China Trek Day 1 – lunch

After lunch, it was more of the same and after more trekking and being chased by women selling t-shirts, magnets and purses, some of the group started the walk down back to the coach and the rest of us carried on a bit further to an older, less renovated section of the wall. This was the first time seeing a less renovated part and it was sad to see it literally crumbling away in sections.

China Trek Day 1 - Jinshanling
Less Renovated Part of Jinshanling
China Trek Day 2 - Less renovated section of the wall
Less renovated section of the wall

We walked as far as we could until we came to a section which had completely crumbled away, so was impassable.

China Trek Day 2 - Impassable part of the wall
Impassable part of the wall
China Trek Day 2 - End of the wall
China Trek Day 1 – End of the wall

After this, it was time for the descent back down to the coach. The steps down felt like they went on forever!! When we got to the bottom, we were sweating and our legs were aching but we were pleased to see a guy selling beer in the car park – result! So of course I (and a few others) bought a beer and we sat in the sun and drank it before getting on the coach and heading onto the lodge where we spent the second night.

China Trek Day 1 - Beers!
China Trek Day 1 – Beers!

A great end to a fantastic first day! After finishing our beers we headed to the next stop – Green Lodge in Gubeikou village, as on day 2 we would be trekking the Gubeikou section of the wall.

On the way though, just as we were starting to relax, our coach got stopped for a random police check and we had to haul all our luggage off the bus and take it, with our passports, to be checked in the police station! That was a little scary and also the first time it’s happened to our guide. Everything was ok though and we all got back onto the coach and arrived at the Green lodge an hour or so later.

This first night was my favourite night of the whole trip as the lodge was really cute, very authentic Chinese.

China Trek Day 1 - Second Hotel - Green Lodge
China Trek Day 1 – Second Hotel – Green Lodge

After a brief rest, shower and packing of our bags ready for day 2, we headed downstairs for food. We had an amazing meal of traditional Chinese food and beers, and tried some traditional Chinese rice wine, which is very strong and tastes like more of a spirit than wine.

China Trek Day 1 - Chinese meal
China Trek Day 1 – Chinese meal

After a good night we headed to bed, exhausted and ready for day 2 – the Gubeikou section.

Great Wall of China

My Great Wall of China Trek is Tomorrow!!!

Hi

Just a quick post tonight!

I cannot believe that my Great Wall of China trek for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund is tomorrow. I’m so nervous it’s unbelievable. I have been packing and stressing tonight and I’m worried that I have forgotten to pack something. I’m also worried about what’s to come and because I’m going by myself. Eeek! It’s totally outside of my comfort zone.

It’s also quite exciting though and I’m looking forward to seeing China and pushing myself.

I am also impressed that I managed to fit everything into one rucksack lol.

Great Wall of China Trek

So what will I be doing?

Over the course of 5 days I’ll be trekking the Great Wall of China for up to 7 hours a day. I’ll be hiking up steep terrain and climbing thousands of steps. I’ll be trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall at height and staying in basic lodges. And I’m doing all of this to raise awareness and money for scoliosis.

There’s still time to sponsor me, if you’d like to 🙂 Just click on the link below.. All money will be donated to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund who support people with scoliosis and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=LouiseLaurie

Well, I guess I’ll see you on the other side! I’ll be sure to post updates and pictures when I get back 🙂

Bye for now,

Louise X

Great Wall of China Trek 2 weeks to go...

Great Wall of China Trek – 2 weeks to go!

Hi everyone 🙂

I can’t believe my trek on the Great Wall of China for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund is less than 2 weeks away… where is this year going?! If you’d like to sponsor me and help me to raise money for those affected by scoliosis, you can do so here. 🙂

In back related news, I had an MRI scan last week to try and find the cause of my leg numbness. I’m quite worried about this because at the moment I don’t know what it is and I keep thinking the worst. Basically my right leg is numb all the way down the outside and it also feels weaker than the left leg. It feels like it’s getting worse too which is concerning, especially as it’s so close to my China trek. I’m worried that my leg will affect my ability to actually do the trek, or it will be uncomfortable/painful. 🙁 Typical really when I have been building up to this for so long.

Despite this though, I’m still going ahead with the trek and I’m really excited that I have managed to raise over £500 so far for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

I haven’t done as much training as I’d like to do and I’m also worried about my fitness levels, as in actually being fit enough to do it. I have seen pictures of the Great Wall and it looks very steep and we will have to climb thousands of steep steps during the challenge.

I do go to the gym several times a week and I also run, but I haven’t done as much hiking as I’d like in order to prepare. So I feel a bit worried that I haven’t trained enough!! I’ve done a few short walks up hills near where I live and I did go up the Mount Snowdon Pyg Track last month but the weather has been too bad to go again, which I wanted to do.

Today I did manage a 13 mile walk though (took about 5 hours) round the hills of Derbyshire. I hadn’t done this walk before and it was quite pleasant with good views. I managed this ok although it definitely wasn’t as steep/challenging as the Great Wall will be. But it was good to get out and actually see how my back/leg would cope with a longer walk.

Great Wall of China Training

In China, I’ll be trekking for around 4-7 hours per day, covering approximately 50kms over 5 days as well as continually hiking up and down thousands of stairs. Not sure how my back will cope with consecutive days of hiking but it’s all part of the challenge!

I’m starting to get nervous now but I have made a start on organising and buying things that I need so I can start packing. I’ve never done anything like this before so I’ve had to buy a few things like a rucksack and some walking poles! Later in the week I’ll do a post on what I’m taking/packing. I think the key is to pack light, something I’m not so good at… 😉


Please sponsor me… pretty please!

If you have scoliosis or know someone with scoliosis please consider sponsoring me to help the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.

This is going to be a massive challenge for me. I’m sooo nervous and would love your support! You can sponsor me by clicking the Virgin Money icon below. It doesn’t have to be much, even small amounts like £1 would be appreciated as it all adds up and helps 🙂

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Louise X


 

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