The Great Wall Spur is a fantastic hike at any time of year, which is why we’re showcasing it in our Seasons Series. The hike began with a warm up along a road to reach a derelict hotel at the foot of a mountain. From there however, it started uphill in earnest, on a set of stone stairs.
As we ascended, we were able to get some views of the surrounding hills and countryside through the haze. After we reached a section of the Great Wall at the top of the ridge, we explored the first tower on it that we encountered, taking time to climb up onto its roof and relax and have some snacks. From there, we started following the Wall as it undulated up and down along the ridge line.
This hike took us through several towers built along the Great Wall, so we had an opportunity to admire Ming Dynasty engineering and craftsmanship, which have endured for centuries. Looking back as we made our way down the Wall, we were able to appreciate how it perches on top of steep cliffs. After the hike, we enjoyed a warm meal at a country guesthouse in a nearby village.
A levitating local plays with a neatly coiffed poodle at the village near the start of the hike.
A hiker enjoys the uphill portion of the hike en route to the Great Wall. Many find this first section of the hike to be pretty tough!
Near the top of the first uphill section of the hike, the Great Wall comes into view through the mist.
A view back at the first Great Wall tower that we visited. On clear days, the roof of this tower provides good views of the surrounding countryside.
Another view of this crumbling tower from near the crest of the ridgeline. Most of the sections of Great Wall in this area were built in the late 1500s.
In the summer, there are many species of insects to be seen; this colorful butterfly is one example of many that we find in the area.
The Great Wall was built along steep and often narrow ridges, so there are countless up and downhill sections along the hike – good exercise!
Because this section of the Great Wall has not been renovated, the top of the wall is overgrown with trees. In the summer this provides welcome shade.
Mushrooms abound in the area; many species are edible and are sought after by the locals.
This is one of the steepest downhill sections on the hike; hikers walk carefully so as not to dislodge any loose bricks or rocks as they descend the wall into the mist.
A view of a fairly well preserved Great Wall tower as the Wall snakes off into the distance.
Certain towers however, such as this one, are crumbling and are no longer in very good condition.
As the clouds and mist came and went that day, it made certain parts of the Great Wall look like a scene from a traditional painting.
The interior of this tower contains a stone tablet dating to the Ming dynasty; it has information written on it about the construction of this section of the Great Wall.