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“My car (che) is in Zhangzuo Village, how do I get there?” “Oh you want to eat (chi) in Zhangzuo?” “Okay, uh, (to other lady) is there a bus to Zhangzuo?” “Sorry, I’m deaf!”. Oh. “What did he say? I can’t hear!” Between my rusty Chinese, the old ladies’ rusty Chinese, and a few hearing problems, our hike to the General’s Pass ended in a bit of a comedy of errors. It had been a long day, a sudden heat snap in Beijing’s usually mild spring hitting us during the rugged ten kilometers of rocky, early Ming wall. Negotiating nearly a kilometer of vertical gain with a new puppy who needed carrying most of the way, topped off a pretty tough day. But as always on the Great Wall, there were wonderful views, interesting features, and friendly villagers. As I’ve said before, if you’re tired of the Wall, you’re tired of life.

Click through for photos and some drone video too.

It was really a bit windy for flying the drone, but the clip shows the potential for good imagery on a still day.

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↑ First climb.

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↑ The long way ahead. Notice the secondary wall to the right of the main wall.

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↑ Classic early Ming stone battlements

Related stories…

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Solo Bivvy at Tiekuangyu

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Solo Bivvy at Guodingshan

Dajiaoyu

Dajiaoyu Wall

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↑ These towers were probably solid, rather than the later Ming towers with chambers inside.

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↑ Closer view shows the wider basement platform.

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↑ Mid-way through the hike there were some large cliffs.

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↑ We climbed up the hillside to the top of the cliff, and descended this one beyond it before being defeated by impassable terrain…

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↑…there was no getting past this feature

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↑ Seen from below, that gap is clearly quite large.

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↑ We followed these terraces to get around the impassable ridge above

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↑ The bucolic valley was a welcome break from the hot wind on the ridge

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↑ Before long though, it was back uphill and further west on the high wall

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↑ The forest was thicker and there were some interesting features here…

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↑ …like this stone cut access door

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↑ And then it was my turn to carry Dotty, Ben’s puppy

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↑ Still a long way to go, though the end was in sight. The route followed the ridge downwards to the left to reach the General’s Pass

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↑ Carrying Dotty was good practice for carrying my kid on future hikes

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↑ From here, we were on the home stretch, though still a lot of descending to go

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↑ Looking uphill at the last stretch of high wall

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↑ The last, long rocky descent

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↑ The General’s Pass comes into view…

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↑ …and then the village…

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↑ …and we’d made it!

Now all we had to do was get back to our car. Oh, you want to eat…!

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