After a very scenic drive to the northern part of Yanqing County, we got off the bus and had a good, uphill hike to Shanghualou, the Flower Tower. The structure was a good example of the brick construction used on the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty. After examining the tower, we set off along a much more dilapidated section of wall - probably originally built by the Yan State, with extra construction during successive dynasties (Qin, Han, and Ming). Steep scrambles up loose rubble and a cold, bracing wind made for challenging hiking along the sharp ridge upon which that section of Great Wall was built, but the views were spectacular!
We were far enough away from the city that we did not see any other hikers at all; it was a great escape from the daily grind. Finally, after we had followed the Wall along the ridge for a few kilometers, we descended into a valley. The trail wound its way down to fields and eventually came to a road that led through a village, and on to an ornamented archway where the bus was waiting. After enjoying snacks, hot tea, and cold beer, we made our back to the city.
Statistics: 3.5 hours in total, with 2.75 hours of walking at approx. 3.6km/h over approx. 8.65km; start height 748m, finish height 776m highest point 1068m, total climbing up 586m, total climbing down 580m. Estimated 1663kCal burned.