The Juyongguan Pass is an entrance to a part of The Great Wall of China. If you're into trekking, it's a must visit in Beijing. If you're not a trekker (like me) it'll be a challenging climb, but it's worth it. The scenery is good, the breeze is perfect, and the wall itself is amazing.
Prior to our Great Wall trip, my perception of the Great Wall was that it was flat; a huge wall that runs horizontally across the land of China. Sort of like:
The fact that a wall, protecting a country, could run across mountains didn’t enter my mind. In fact, I was excited to run along the wall and take lots of photos of the scenery and I thought that it wouldn’t take a lot of effort in doing so.
That was until our tour guide mentioned this to us: “Only Great People Climb the Great Wall”. Then I thought to myself, “Climb?”, and then she explained that the part of the Great Wall where we’re headed has THE view yet it is not as crowded as the other parts but we had to go up and trek.
I was surprised and challenged at the same time; I aimed to get as far and as high as I can during our visit. I brought only two cameras (the Fisheye No. 2 and an Ultra Wide & Slim camera) and two rolls (which was a mistake and a challenge), one for each.
The first few meters of the wall is flat, it didn’t require you to climb, YET. And they have this metallic string filled with padlocks with red ribbons on it. Apparently, what couples usually do is that they would write down their initials, hang the padlock onto the string and then throw out the key. They throw out the key to symbolize their eternal love for one another. (Source: http://acartwrightstudio.blogspot.com/2010/04/part-5lock-your-love-on-great-wall.html)
And after a few steps you’ll reach the part where you need to climb to continue your great climb and it starts out really steep but you’ll get a good view for your effort.
After several minutes and possibly a hundred steps, you’ll reach the first beacon.
I wasn’t able to take note of the first beacon’s number, but the second one was number 9. When you reach that first beacon, you can rest, enjoy the view, and contemplate if you want to proceed or not. I definitely recommend proceeding. You can also climb to the top of the beacon, you can enjoy a better view with a cooler breeze.
If you decide to proceed, you’ll need cash to buy water, food, and souvenirs. Yes, they have snacks and souvenirs at the beacons near the highest peak of the great wall. If you have those, then you can start trekking. If not, you can get those first, or continue trekking like what I did (which was another mistake).
After a few minutes of trekking, you’ll be able to digest the beauty of the structure, and feel the need to climb more. And in return, the Great Wall would give you a scenic view and the perfect cool breeze to make you feel refreshed.
After several hundred steps, a few beacons, and a lot of burnt calories…
You’ll reach…the highest peak of THIS PART of the Great Wall of China! Beacon No. 13!
It has a very jagged set of steps that would lead you to the top of the beacon, but if you are able to go there, the view will be amazing.
And after that, there will be two options: to go right and go back down to Juyongguan Entrance, or to go left and continue trekking.
If you’re prepared and if you have the whole day, continuing would sound awesome. Unfortunately, I had no water nor any Yuan with me since I wasn’t able to exchange my money. My family had the Yuans, and they gave up near Beacon 10. So, I had no choice but to go back down.
It was still a bit challenging to go down because at some part, all it takes is one misstep for you to go tumbling down the wall or the mountain!
It was a really tiring climb, but the view was amazing. The weather could have been better; The view would’ve been better if it was more sunny, but I guess it would be really hot and tiring to trek under sunny weather at noon than to do so on a cloudy weather. So, I guess our timing was perfect.
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