Team Youngcare Meets The Great Wall

Blog 2: Youngcare Great Wall Trek 2012

After another brilliant night at our Hutong hotel (minus the hourly phone calls from 1am to 7am in my room) we hopped back on the bus and headed out, out, out of the big bad city and deep into the foothills northeast of the city. Slowly but surely the cosmopolitan sites and sounds of downtown Beijing faded away into low rise apartments and small shops until disappearing completely into farmland, forest, and single-lane roads that wound up and up into the mountains.

Our first stop was the Qing tombs, where some new-age mini buses literally zoomed us into the labyrinth of underground resting places that once housed China’s last great emperors, their wives, and concubines. As you descend deep into these monolithic tombs the cold air sweeps over you, a reminder of just how thick the marble walls are.

After a fantastic lunch sitting around the worlds largest lazy Susan it was onward to take our first steps on the Great Wall! The bus chugged up and up to the entrance, where we made our 37th toilet stop of the day, made sure we had Judy, listened to another 3 innuendos from Leanne, and decided to follow Glenn’s matching neon orange watch and shoes up to the wall.

Before we started Bronwyn offered up two amazing ways to be reminded of what brought us here. Each morning and night a few committed trekkers will be telling the group what inspired their journey. We will also be passing the Youngcare flag between us. It has already been photographed widely! Combined with the evening handover of the “Inspired” bracelets, this is a very charity-focused, goal-oriented group!

Now it’s dinner in the dining hall before we watch the sun set over the Great Wall from the central courtyard of our charming guesthouse. We know, you definitely wish you were here!



More from the Youngcare Great Wall Trek 2012

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Youngcare Team China Group Photo Through Beijing

Blog 1: Youngcare Great Wall Trek 2012

“Group photo,” I shout, jutting my arms outward to indicate where, exactly, the group needs to stand. These eleven fundraisers line up, smack on their cheesiest grins, and have their photo snapped yet again in front of another of Beijing’s expansive historic sites. It is an exercise we will repeat numerous times over the next nine days and one that, despite the minor whinging, the group actually enjoys. Especially when I ask them to jump!

Team Youngcare in Beijing

Af a leisurely morning exploring the maze of local Hutong neighborhoods that surround our tucked-away hotel, we hopped on the bus with Mr. Lee, Jessi, and Alan en route for Tian’anmen Square. Nearly 1 square kilometre, Tian’anmen can hold more than 500,000 people! That is the population of Perth. It’s immensity was staggering as was the incredible interest in taking photos with our very own Leanne. She seems to be this group’s “diva” and none of us really think she minds.

Team Youngcare in BeijingIt was then onward to the Temple of Heaven, whose temples are once again hidden deep within protective outer walls and extensive gardens that stretch in every direction. Beyond the spectacular temples, what really makes the Temple of Heaven so brilliant is the throngs of locals who make wonderful use of all the space. In one area a large group of men and women sing Chinese classics. In another, two men lean in closely as their game of Chinese chess heats up. They slam the pawns down on the table as their respective posses, formed into a packed semi-circle, offer never ending advice and moral support. Further along the path a group of women knit together while, nearby, couples practice waltzing – the most elegant activity the Chinese take part in. It is an eclectic, eye-opening view into real people and always a highlight of our trip.

From here we moved on to dinner, diving into two very hot pots of classic Sichuan cuisine. This do-it-yourself dinner is always highly enjoyable. Ths time it was magnified by our surprising Bronwyn with a birthday girl crown, giant cake, and GIANT knife with which to cut the cake. Is there any better way to ring in the big 2-5 (I was told to say that)?

acrobats in beijingWe finished the day with a spectacular acrobatics show that had us pinned to our seats in mutual anticipation and fear. My goodness, some of tha acts they take on are stressful even to watch much less perform!

Thankfully, we made it safe and sound back to the hotel with all 11 participants intact. Why thankfully? Because we may have accidentally left Judy at the restaurant and completely forgotten her for, oh, 10 minutes or so. It was definitely Bronwyn’s fault. Definitely. Wait, she is the birthday girl. Okay, it was definitely Leanne’s fault. Definitely. It’s off to bed now as we have a very big day ahead of us tomorrow.



More from the Youngcare Great Wall Trek 2012

Read more trip stories from China or visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a Charity Challenge perfect for you.

Team Youngcare made it to the top!

Top of the moutain!

They made it!

Here is a quick snap of the Youngcare team as they got to the top of the mountain they trekked up in Laung Prabang. With a 25km cycle in the morning and a 4 hour steep trek in the midday heat, all agreed it was the toughest day yet.

Vietnam – here we come!

Read more trip stories from Vietnam or visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a Charity Challenge perfect for you.