Great Wall of China, Beijing, China

June 2015, I took a trip to China. It was entirely unforgettable. I visited Beijing in my final days there and had the incredible opportunity to camp overnight on a completely unrestored section of The Great Wall of China.

The appeal of camping overnight is to be right there, as the sun rises, watching out across the beautiful landscape. Having set our alarms at a ridiculous hour, we knew it would be worth the lack of sleep. Alarms rang, we quickly silenced them and crept out of our tents. Impatiently, we clambered up the huge inclines of rubble wall. Once we reached the top, we settled on the most comfortable rocks we could find and waited.

40 minutes past. Small talk. Avoiding what we all knew was true – it was cloudy and there would be no sunrise that morning. The one morning we would wake on top of The Great Wall.

Yet, we couldn’t complain. The night before, we had been blessed with the most delicate blue-purple hued dusk, captured in the cover photo for this post. That was a special night of being somewhere so remote, reflecting on the vastness of the Great Wall and the solemnness of what it represented, which more recently under the Ming dynasty, was 200 years of back breaking work. Looking out, we felt like the luckiest people alive being in that very place, so stunningly silent.

I never did get a chance to squeeze in a visit to the classic, neatly restored sections most tourists see. Perhaps I’ll go back another time, and maybe then the sun rise will be clear and golden.

Steep rumble between the iconic fortifications of The Great Wall

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