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  • #16
    Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

    I couldn't have said it better than Bianfuxia. If you didn't get a driver here on the forum or some other website, then there are always tons of drivers waiting at the train station to take you. However, it may be A: difficult to negotiate a good price, B: hard to communicate your destination details with no Chinese, and C: difficult or impractical to arrange a return ride. But if your Chinese is pretty good, you would likely be able to manage.

    For Delphine, when I said the towers were in better condition on other parts, I was thinking of sections like Jinshanling which have been heavily restored.

    And for the water, yes, I think if you planned well, you could easily refuel. I stopped short of my goal, but if I had kept going, I would have passed another town as well. I don't know about the full week depending on your speed, etc, but for the majority of that week you could probably remain within a reasonable range of civilization if you needed.

    Hope this helps!

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    • #17
      Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

      Thanks for the further info.

      I am from Northern Canada, and am headed to Japan afterwards to do the Shikoku Henro Trail (1200kms). So I will have my winter camping gear with me. I don't want to sound arrogant though. I am trying my best to figure everything out before I go(hence all this 8 months in advance). But I get at what you're saying about the wind, as the wall is obviously at the highest point on the ridge whenever possible. I am used to terrain where only 1k/hour is possible, I think I mapped it out at about 38km. I would usually do that in 2-3, but I was setting aside 4, I may bump that up to 5 or 6 and bring some extra food. I always try and prepare best I can for multi-day hikes, especially solo. So all the information (especially about the people passing away, RIP), is very beneficial in my planning process.

      I have the map and have been studying it as best I can. I also have a GPS and have ordered the China City Navigator map set. If I have Zhenbiencheng book marked on my GPS, as well as a multi-lingual printout of directions would that be sufficient? Also still have to order the book, but I was about to do that when I got side tracked here...

      It seems like there are enough villages for me to resupply(water), even if a few are a ways off the wall. Are people fairly welcoming? If I show them water bottles and offer them some money will I have a problem filling up? I don't know if it makes a big difference but I am a very large person who would stick out regardless of race. I am very friendly, but realize I would probably looking intimidating to somebody 5' tall.

      I also plan to warm up originally at Mutianyu, spend a couple days and walk as far as I can in either direction. As well as doing Gubiekou to Simatai, just to get a feel for hiking for an extended period along the wall.

      I forget where I saw it but on this forum there was a picture of 2 people just starting the trail (I believe from Zhenbiencheng side). Is the trail head easy to spot from the of the road? If not does somebody has a GPS co-ordinate?
      Or should I just get dropped off in town and wonder till I find it?

      Trail end, I would like to make it all the way to Badaling. Will I be able to find transportation back to Beijing (ie bus or taxi)? or should I attempt to pre-arrange, and just give myself a day in Badaling?

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      • #18
        Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

        Originally posted by Pudge View Post
        Thanks for the further info.

        I am from Northern Canada, and am headed to Japan afterwards to do the Shikoku Henro Trail (1200kms). So I will have my winter camping gear with me. I don't want to sound arrogant though. I am trying my best to figure everything out before I go(hence all this 8 months in advance). But I get at what you're saying about the wind, as the wall is obviously at the highest point on the ridge whenever possible. I am used to terrain where only 1k/hour is possible, I think I mapped it out at about 38km. I would usually do that in 2-3, but I was setting aside 4, I may bump that up to 5 or 6 and bring some extra food. I always try and prepare best I can for multi-day hikes, especially solo. So all the information (especially about the people passing away, RIP), is very beneficial in my planning process.
        I thought it was closer to 62km, Shutioucun to Badaling.
        I have the map and have been studying it as best I can. I also have a GPS and have ordered the China City Navigator map set. If I have Zhenbiencheng book marked on my GPS, as well as a multi-lingual printout of directions would that be sufficient?
        Should be fine. A print out of an actual map (like you can make from www.baidu.com) would be best of all.
        It seems like there are enough villages for me to resupply(water), even if a few are a ways off the wall. Are people fairly welcoming? If I show them water bottles and offer them some money will I have a problem filling up? I don't know if it makes a big difference but I am a very large person who would stick out regardless of race. I am very friendly, but realize I would probably looking intimidating to somebody 5' tall.
        Generally pretty friendly. Learn a few basic chinese phrases like what country you're from, "do you have water", etc. Not too hard and will help a lot (they'll go "wow your Chinese is amazing". In most of those villages you ought to be able to buy bottled water very cheaply.
        I also plan to warm up originally at Mutianyu, spend a couple days and walk as far as I can in either direction. As well as doing Gubiekou to Simatai, just to get a feel for hiking for an extended period along the wall.
        GBK to Simatai is not really extended hiking - you can do it in a day.

        I forget where I saw it but on this forum there was a picture of 2 people just starting the trail (I believe from Zhenbiencheng side). Is the trail head easy to spot from the of the road? If not does somebody has a GPS co-ordinate?
        Or should I just get dropped off in town and wonder till I find it?
        It is just north of ZBC in a little layover, pretty clear on the forum's map. I think it even shows the path.

        Trail end, I would like to make it all the way to Badaling. Will I be able to find transportation back to Beijing (ie bus or taxi)? or should I attempt to pre-arrange, and just give myself a day in Badaling?
        If you make it to BDL you can take a bus or train, no need to arrange a ride. Both bus and train leave right from BDL - I recommend the train. Note that when arriving from Badaling Ancient, the last stretch before BDL itself, you won't be able to get into BDL unless you climb over the wall that ends the tourist section. So you will need to do a bit of a detour - there are some paths you can see on GE.
        If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
        Journeys, &c

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

          Thanks again.

          It could very well be 60km, I was measuring based off of Brian's map, overlain by google maps. I can see your estimate being more exact, as there will be lots of zigzagging. I am used to taking enough food with me for 80-100km hikes. So water will be the only issue. But from what you have told me and I have heard, as long as I have the map with knowledge of the villages I should be alright. I can make 6L last 3 days, but that just sucks, and I want to enjoy myself.

          I was hoping to stay in Gubeikou, hike past Jinshanling, stay on the wall. Then head to Simatai the next morning and back to Gubeikou that same day. I realize it may only be a day hike, but it will be my first time on the wall. I assume photos will take up a good portion of that first day.

          I have a friend in Shanghai, so maybe she knows somebody trust worthy in Beijing to give me a ride out to Zhenbiencheng. I will have to ask her. If not would I be able to talk a legitimate taxi into taking me? Maybe if I pre-arranged the price?

          I am just about to book my accommodation. So if anybody has any spots they recommend around Beijing, Badaling, Mutianyu or Gubeikou that would be awesome. Also spending a couple nights in Tai'an. Right now I am basically shooting for the places Brian okay's in his book and map.

          This is slightly off topic but maybe somebody who lives in China can give me some insight. So I am travelling to Japan after and I found out they are not to fond of tattoos. I have a full sleeve as well on my legs, and one visible on my neck. Do the Chinese view tattoos the same way as Japanese?

          Thanks again

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          • #20
            Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

            Re getting to Zhenbiancheng, just get to Yanqing (by train, from Beijing North, or by bus from Deshengmen near Jishuitan subway station) and bargain at the station. It should not cost more than 200 one way.

            Re tattoos, can't say from experience as I don't have any but I don't think you will have any particular difficulties. My understanding is that in Japan they tend to associate tattoos with the yakuza (right?) but I don't know that that's the case here. I wouldn't be too worried about it, especially if you approach people in a friendly, humble way.

            You should also bear in mind that there are spots on the GW including on that route where it is not to be taken lightly, especially with a heavy pack. Some parts are steep, with scrambling required, and severe consequences for a slip or fall.
            If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
            Journeys, &c

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

              I have already decided I am bringing my 48L pack instead of 80L. I will lose my tent, sleeping pad and a few other things. With that pack I usually find the weight is about 40lbs, maybe 45 with extra food and water. I don't know how much more I could drop, because a lot of stuff I have with me I wouldn't want to leave with a hotel.

              I am quite used to being alone in the wild. I have to take wilderness first aid courses yearly for work. I also have a satellite phone I will have with me. It's super expensive to use, but it's an awesome piece of equipment I would not even consider leaving behind.

              I think I may take the train or bus to Balading instead. That way I get a chance to see where I will have to end up to get back to Beijing. With it being such a touristy area would you forsee me having any problems getting a ride from there?

              On another note I have finally booked all my plane tickets. I get into Beijing on the 21st of Oct. Then fly out of Hong Kong on Nov 19th. I am super stoked. Don't have too much planned other than Zhenbiencheng and Gubeikou. I want to climb Mount Taishan as well. Also are the Yellow Mountains do-able in a couple days. and If anybody has any other suggestions I would be very interested to hear. I am interested in anything to do with the wilderness or ancient China. I am honestly kind of nervous to visit the bigger cities. Vancouver is the biggest place I have ever been...

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              • #22
                Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

                Fair enough. 20+kg sounds unwieldy on some stretches, to me at least, but as you like. Normally if i go overnight i take a lightweight bivvy bag, sleeping bag, pad, the clothes i am wearing and devote the rest to food & water. A satphone sounds great except who are you going to call? You get cell service pretty much everywhere around beijing, even on the wall, except in some valleys. I try to keep it around 12-13 kg if i possibly can, if i expect any tricky walking.

                Dont be shy of the big cities - theyre not too daunting and especially Beijing and Shanghai are easy to get around with signs and menus in English and people who either speak it or are willing to help. Not to mention plenty of expats around. Especially if you like ancient china it would be a great shame to miss the capital - imperial palace, the hutongs, gulou or qianmen neighbourhoods, the parks, etc. there's a reason so many people put up with the smog!

                You asked about badaling and transport. From experience, i know you will have zero problem finding a driver at yanqing train station. Zero! There are tons of guys right at the door then a bunch more in the car park. It is also a bus depot. The drivers there will generally be less - how to say it politely - aggressively overpriced than the ones you'll encounter at Badaling.
                If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                Journeys, &c

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

                  Thanks again for the info.

                  For bag size, I don't know how much I would want to store at a hotel. Most of the stuff I will have with me will be for a 5 month excursion. I plan to have this weight on my back for more or less the whole time... I can mail most of my guides and books to a buddy in Japan, so I would just have the stuff I need for China. Sounds like I don't really need the sat phone, I have a international sim card for my phone, and it offers a concierge service, not to sure how much that would help in the boonies but at least I could talk to somebody in English in a time of distress.

                  I do have a friend in Beijing, I just don't think she is interested in doing any overnight trips though. I also don't know what her parents allow her to do. I dated her in college, and her parents were quite irate when they found out (I think it was cause I worked on a farm). But if I can call her on a cell in case of emergency should be alright.

                  I booked a place in Beijing for 11 days. During this time I will spend a lot of it on the wall, but I will leave some time for Beijing as well. I am headed to Tai'an after that, then I am thinking about Huangshan. I fly out of Guangzhou on the 17th on Nov (just short of a month), so if I can arrive there enough in advance I would like to spend a couple days in Guilin. I fly through Shanghai on the way back, so I will try and see the City on a 72 hour visa.

                  I have also heard the time I am travelling there is slightly better for the smog. I don't know if that is entirely true, but I will tough it out either way. Smog isn't going to keep me away from that wall!

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                  • #24
                    Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

                    Get a pollution mask! On bad days it is truly disgusting. See pics in my recent thread on forts of the yanqing plain. Looks like a lovely mountain mist until you realise it is dry, acrid, and composed of heavy metals...I like the masks by totobobo.

                    But today was glorious. You can't ever tell for sure so if you only have a few days & dont want to miss it, a mask can make things more bearable. Your dates mean you'll be here before winter heating starts which helps but a bad smog can appear overnight any time of year.
                    If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                    Journeys, &c

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

                      I was about to order a few from Amazon the other day. But I will wait until I can try one on first, it would suck to have a bunch that didn't fit...

                      I have never experienced smog... but I got years of smoking under my belt to get my lungs all broken in.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Mutianyu to Simatai?

                        You'll feel right at home, then!
                        If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                        Journeys, &c

                        Comment

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