When Chelsea decided to undertake her overseas challenge, she knew she would need 18 months to plan, train and fundraise, and if she could do all that, why then would she let a broken ankle get in the way of her 5-day trek along the great wall of China?
Luckily for us, Chelsea kept a diary and gave us permission to share the experience, one she will never forget.
After travelling for 13.5 hours we arrived in Beijing at 7am, too early to check in to the Holiday Inn Express! So, we headed straight into Hutong (an old town area of Beijing). Here we went on a rickshaw to explore the old way of life in Beijing over the last 200 years. We zig zagged through the narrow alleys to experience the traditional neighbourhoods. We visited Mr and Mrs Wong, a local retired couple who invited us in and prepared lunch for us. Afterwards we walked to the 2008 Olympic Park before our briefing about the challenge ahead.
Taipingzhai to Huangyaguan. Just a two and a half hour trek, today was a warm up – but it gave us a feel of what to expect for the rest of the week. I had underestimated the amount of steps and the constant up and down terrain of the wall. After almost a year and a half of planning, fundraising, training and a triple ankle break it was amazing to finally step foot on the wall – Something I had only ever dreamed about.
- 9,522 steps
- 65 flights of stairs
- 6.68km walked
Gubeikou to Jinshangling. 8 hours trekking, completely different to yesterday. An original part of the wall, completely un-renovated. At times only a metre wide with a sheer drop either side! 27 watch towers covered. The Wall stretched miles into the distance, we could see ruined towers, collapsed parts and dirt tracks at the base giving a real feel of 600 years of history, and blisters.
- 26,103 steps
- 212 flights of stairs
- 18.32km walked and a whopping 5,419 calories burned!!
Jinshangling to Simitai. I woke up with thighs so sore I wondered how on earth I’d make it through the day. Despite this I declined the cable car up to the wall and walked the extra (optional) 4 watchtowers – I haven’t been sponsored to take the easy way out!!
Today was a very tough day, extremely steep climbs up with equally steep descents. An absolutely beautiful area of the wall with some amazing views.
- 17,890 steps
- 133 flights of stairs
The Heavenly Ladder. And the day I was most dreading!! We climbed 1,000 steps up to the wall, trekked 11 watch towers before we approached the Heavenly Ladder – 460 steps at a near vertical staircase. It was extremely tough, but the views from the top, the mountains, the Great Wall and the beautiful landscape that surrounded this section made it completely worth worth it. We then climbed back down the same route but when we got closer to the bottom we had the option to trek another 45 minutes and take the toboggan slide down – An opportunity I could not say no to!!!
- 17,530 steps
- 182 flights of stairs
- 12.31 km
Juyongguan. Our final trekking day, I was so sad that we had reached this day in what seemed like only a blink of an eye. Following breakfast, we took a short transfer to the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall. This section is very similar to the Huangyangguan section we walked on day 3. Being the closest part of the wall to Beijing it was one of the busiest parts of the wall. This was just a short two hour trek before heading to the Badaling section of the wall where Global Adventures have gained permission from the Chinese government to help renovate a part of the wall. This was an absolute privilege to place our very own brick on the Great Wall. An imprint that will be there forever. My message to my nan and everyone affected by breast cancer is now cemented in the wall for decades to come. This was difficult and very emotional, a moment I will look back and reflect on.
All the hard work that has been put into fundraising and the training! It was a lovely way to end the trek, thinking of individuals and the causes we are doing this for. I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved this week, and I’m so proud of everyone I have shared this trek with.
After 5 days of the intense physical and emotional task of trekking the Great Wall we tour Beijing, seeing the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. Tried Thai Chi and a tea tasting session.
Passing through a public park in Beijing there was an overwhelming sense of community with locals participating in dance, exercise, cards and board games. Beijingers are so hospitable, they were happy for us to watch and take pictures of them participating in their activities and welcomed us to join them. Later on a farewell dinner where we were presented with a certificate and a medal.
So that’s it, journey complete. It’s been the best week of my life, challenging, life changing, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed and made friendships I’ll never forget. I’ve climbed thousands of steps and in some sections we have been on all fours to make it. I’m proud that I have been able to take part in this trek whilst raising money and remembering those who have fought, those we are fighting and those who have sadly lost their battle to breast cancer. I’m absolutely gutted that this journey is over but it’s one I will never forget.
If you’re feeling inspired to take on the challenge of a lifetime, you can take part in the Great Wall of China Trek or another of our overseas challenges. For more information, call on 01235 534211 or drop our Events Team a line. Together with our partners Global Adventure Challenges, we’re sure we will have the right event for you.