I recently found a card to the the the Zhou’s, the place uis stayed. You can find more information here www.jkwall.com
With the aid of Alli my new friend in Lijiang, I made my way to Huairou from Beijing. I took only cameras and minimal change of clothing. I took the bus and subway to Dongzhimen subway station and made my way to the Bus Station. Found the 916 Express or fast bus to Huairou. The fare for the 1 hour bus ride was less than $2.00 and the Subway so far has only been $0.66 to transfer as many times as I have needed to, quite the deal for a Westerner. The buses are $0.16 if you pay cash and if you use a transit card only $0.06!!
Alli had arranged with the Zhou’s Guesthouse in Xizhizi to pick me up at a bus stop in Huairou and with texts and 1 call was picked up. There was LITTLE to no English that matched my LITTLE to no Mandarin:) All the stops in Huairou are packed with guides looking clients for Jiankou or other sections of the Great Wall.
I arrived at the guesthouse around noon and had a light lunch ordered from their picture menu and we were set to visit the Wall at 3:30. The father a 55-year-old smoker put me through my paces as we climbed on trails until we reached the stone foundation of this section of the wall. The first step up was 1 meter high and a drag yourself up and on.
We worked our way onto the wall where the flat top section had trees and other vegetation growing from the all over and the protective walls and towers had crumbled over the past 600 plus years. There were parts of the wall that were maybe 1-2 meters wide on top. This section of the wall was built-in 1386 I believe and has never been restored. Signs posted state that this section is closed to the public, I guess I am now not public! Traveling this route saves the 20 Yuan entrance fee at Jiankou. The section of wall is 26 KM and many trekkers navigate much of the wall and will camp on the wall.
There is cell service from??? I would never have attempted this without the aid of my very able guide who knew where to detour for the RIGHT vistas:) He also was a mental push for my 4 hour aerobic workout.
When we returned back to my SIMPLE yet comfortable room to wash face change into a clean dry t-shirt. Only 1 water line for sink and shower, no hot water. Had a sumptuous dinner of veggies and pork with an interesting specially, fried dough with rice, green onions and ??? Quite greasy and very tasty.
The next morning we woke at 3:30 for a different destination. We hiked off in a different direction on 1 of the many concrete paths that snake across the valley. Many of the paths are used to access the multitude of fields of corn and other vegetables and grains. Then a step off the path into the forest and over my head underbrush. All aided by head lights since it was well before the 5:00 AM sunrise. There was no moon and a dense low cloud. I could see my breath from the high humidity. We reached the wall just after sunrise and the visibility was maybe 100 meters. We plodded off and climbed our way up to Beijing Jie a common destination.
Below Beijing Jie the destination of our Thursday morning climb.
We hiked back to the guesthouse the same way and had a light lunch and a they returned me to a bus stop in Huairou for my return to Beijing. All in all a great day at The Great Wall, It would have been better if I could have seen a blue sky like my first time at the Wall where I walked on my birthday in 2006.
When I returned to Beijing after 2 climbs to the wall and 7 hours of hiking in around 16 hours I was 1 KG heavier I would think due to muscle gain, I hope. So far close to 4 kg dropped on my adventure.