The Earth Day clean up hike has been a Beijing Hikers tradition for almost a decade. The Great Wall is where we enjoy outdoor fun and amazing views, and we want to keep it clean for everyone to enjoy. Every year we head out to clean up a messy stretch of Great Wall, hoping to set an example for other hikers we meet along the way.
In 2018 we were back at the Jiankou Great Wall, an area fairly popular with casual hikers and often a little bit messy. We chose the west side to clean, as it’s not too difficult to hike. We don’t want a tough hike while trying to carry large sacks of rubbish!
The bus was full of Beijing residents and regular hikers. It was good to see faces of determination for making our home city a trash-free place, despite Beijing being only a temporary home for some of us.
Four children made our trip a more lively one than usual. We started the hike on the paved road into the village, each carrying a black trash bag. One child was given a big bag, and with the wind blowing into the bag, it seemed he might fly away.
Before long people started to stop for picking up trash: mostly empty water bottles and tissues.
After we got onto the forest dirt path, the children began to realize their walking at the back made them unable to find trash to pick, for the obvious ones would have been picked up by people in the front. They quickly caught up, jogging and laughing. Unfortunately for them, the narrow path was quite clean.
Before we reached the Wall, we met a solo climber. He had three bags with him, full of trash. Good work!
At our first break on the Wall, we’d each collected quite a bit of trash – some picked up from the trail, and some where we’d gone off-track to grab rubbish that had ended up amongst the trees on the hills.
When we started going downhill on the mountain path, some began to feel tired. We helped each other through difficult sections – a few steep and slippery parts. Fallen leaves laid heavily around and less rubbish found. We gathered small bags in big bags and a few people volunteered to take the big bags all the way down to the end of the hike.
When we set up snacks and drinks, everyone felt they had achieved something, either a challenging hike or the small contribution to our home city.
Thanks to everyone who helped out!