Journeys, &c

notes and images

Tag: archaeology

The Fort and Wall at Beihua Ridge and White Horse Pass

Far to Beijing’s north, the Great Wall runs roughly along the border with Hebei Province. Just west of the well-known “wild wall” at Gubeikou is a little-visited but wonderful section of Ming Dynasty Great Wall called Beihualing – Beihua Ridge. It has everything: dramatic towers, ridgeline wall, remoteness, beautiful Ming stonework lying just where it fell centuries ago, and a really big fort. Just up the road is the equally impressive White Horse Pass, or Baimaguan.

Click through for photos of this incredible area.

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Gansu Province’s Incredible Great Walls and Silk Road Sites: Part II

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I’m a mountain guy, I decided, after just a few hours in the outskirts of the Gobi desert. It was hot, and blowy, the Great Wall we were following was practically impossible to see, and the ground beneath us was parched and covered in huge salt pans. Give me a goat track, I thought. A ridge ripped by a cold wind from Siberia, and a Ming wall I can actually see. But my friend Chinoook is made of sterner stuff (though I give him a run for his money on my home turf). Out ahead, he led the way through the salt pans towards a brown smudge on the horizon. “There’s the wall”, he promised. I squinted. “Sure it is”, I thought skeptically. But he was right. Just meters off a salt pan they could have used as a set for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings, stood an enormous, multi-tiered wall – a giant layer cake two thousand years old.

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Choquequirao – Castle in the Sky

PAZU: “Laputa” is an island floating in the sky.
SHEETA: An island that floats in the sky?
PAZU: Yes. And although it’s said to be a legend… My father saw it!

Flashback of his father flying a dirigible through a storm; he catches a glance of a city high in the clouds and takes a photo

PAZU: It’s the photograph he took then. …Now, there’s no one living in the palace any more. But a lot of treasure is sleeping there. But nobody believed it. …But, my father’s not a liar.

PAZU: Now I’ll make it real — I will go and discover Laputa…

If you love anime, you’ll love Miyazaki. And if you love Miyazaki, you’ll love “Castle in the Sky“.

And if you love that, you’ll love Choquequirao, a real-life lost and ancient Castle in the Sky.

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Memo for Next Time – Bring More Water

If your Camelbak crumples with a demoralising gurgle, you know you’ve run out of water. It’s a particularly disappointing realisation when you still have several hours of climbing ahead and it’s getting hotter by the moment. Such was my predicament on the Great Wall above Sancha a few weekends back. How I got through it is a short tale of “adapt and overcome”, sprinkled with the never-exhausted “kindness of strangers” that makes life in China much easier than one might think it is. Click through for more on my solo overnight microadventure, and discover how I got from here to beer:

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