“He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.”
Imagine standing on top of the Great Wall of China. The crumbling rocks drop away dramatically on both sides and the hills roll away into the distance in greens and blues, as far as the eye can see. The meandering wall snakes across the crest of the hill, twisting and turning to the horizon. The manmade monstrosity is striking in contrast to the undisturbed nature, yet its 2000 years of existence have gently welcomed it to the surrounds. The only thing you can hear is the gentle crunch of rock underfoot from your fellow teammates and new friends and the flirtatious wisp of the breeze, cooling the warm air.
Anyone who has experienced standing on the wall will understand why this place is so magical. Since Inspired Adventures launched its first adventure to the Great Wall of China in 2006, over 170 passionate fundraisers have embarked on this adventure of a lifetime, raising over $750,000 for charities across Australia in the process.
Originally, independent Kingdoms built sections of wall as lines of defense, and it was not until the Qin dynasty (221 – 207 BC), some 2000 years ago, that the wall was joined in its entirety. The Great Wall of China stretches over 8,000 km across the southern edge of inner Mongolia, from its scattered remains in Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west. Now, some sections have returned to dust and the wall may have disappeared entirely had it not been for the boom of the tourism industry in recent decades.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, the Great Wall never really did serve its purpose as an impenetrable line of defense. Guards could be bribed and it was used more as a highway for the transportation of goods across the country’s expanse.
Unsurprisingly, this emblem of Chinese history has become a popular destination for both the Chinese and travellers abroad. Trekking the Great Wall of China with Inspired Adventures is the perfect opportunity to escape the tourist crowds. You will venture far past the ‘do not enter’ signs, and hours will pass without seeing another living soul. You will experience both restored and unrestored sections of the wall, offering a striking reflection of the weathering effects of centuries of history.
Whilst it is one of the least physically demanding Inspired Adventures, trekking the Great Wall of China it is not a challenge to be taken lightly. The trek itself usually spans across 5 days, during which the team cover about 40 – 45 km. Days vary in difficulty, some long, snaking and undulating, others shorter and more intense. One thing is for certain though and that’s the steps. There are lots. Big ones and small ones. Fat ones and thin ones. Strong ones and crumbly ones. Steps of all stretches of the imagination.
China is a country blessed by an array of seasons. The Great Wall is at its best in the spring and autumn months, when the sun warms the surrounds and the days are pleasant, while the evenings offer a gentle reprieve from the heat of the day. It is not advisable to trek in the peak of summer due to the intense heat, and is, surprisingly, impossible to trek in the winter unless you’re prepared to wade through snow-covered hills.
It takes a special kind of person to take on an Inspired Adventure. If you would like an adventure of epic proportions, the Great Wall of China will be sure to exceed all expectations, and what better way to experience this wonder of the world than with a team of like-minded people who have all fundraised for an incredible cause.
Inspired Adventures has frequent departures throughout the year to the Great Wall of China. Call Inspired Adventures on 1300 905 188 to register your interest in a Great Wall of China Challenge today or head to our calendar to find out where Inspired Adventures could take you! http://www.inspiredadventures.com.au/calendar/
Read amazing stories from our China adventures http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/category/trip-stories/china/
By Hannah Gibbs-Harker, Inspired Adventures team member