Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Great Wall

You never know who might show up in Beijing.... of all the people to happen to be in Beijing this summer, I never expected I would get a visit from my good friend Stace!
Dr. Stace Beaulieu is a deep sea biologist (and I mean deep) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Stace and I did a lot of field work together when I was in graduate school as we spent 2 months as cabin mates together in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (where she would make me lattes when we worked the 12-4 am shift) and did quite a bit of scuba diving together... oh and we drank a lot of coffee together while I was a graduate student. Stace came by Beijing on her way to a conference and she signed us up to do a 10 km Great Wall hike. Most tourists who venture to the Great Wall visit an area called Badaling which is close to Beijing and is a restored section of the wall. Instead we ventured further to hike from Jinshanling to Simatai in an unrestored section.

We saw very few tourists during our day. Stace and I had a guide, Kung Fu Bruce, who hiked with us the whole time. He told us about all of his adventures hiking in China and about the Great Wall and even gave Stace some spicy tofu to eat. The hike was harder than I had imagined as the steps were so steep in places but the scenery was incredible and it was really nice to be outside of the city. It was lightly raining on and off all day. It started to downpour at the end and luckily not before otherwise it would have been really scary. Kung Fu Bruce told us he was hiking with a group of middle school students this past winter and it started to snow! I never imagined I would have the opportunity in my life to hike the Great Wall of China! I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did the hike. -anna

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