WildChina Tour Leader Christian discusses a recent survey trip to the Jinshanling (Golden Mountain) section of the Great Wall:
It’s not every day you get a chance to come to the Great Wall. When my colleagues and I undertook a recent trip to Jinshanling that involved spending the night in tents next to the ancient edifice, we decided to make the most of our time and wake up early to watch the sun rise from the battlements.
At 4:00AM, our alarms went off and in hushed whispers we gathered our jackets, our water bottles, and our cameras. The clouds from the rain the day before had cleared and the moon shone brightly lighting our path to the base of the Great Wall. The air was cool and crisp, and the dew on the grass sparkled with the moonlight. Periodically a joke would surface about the early hour but for the most part we walked in silence enjoying the peaceful quiet that seems so rare at any other time of day.
When we reached the base of the wall, we began our slow steady climb breathing lightly as we made our way to the top of the highest available tower. As we climbed it was impossible not think back to what it was like hundreds of years ago for a sentry posted here to be silent and watchful in the dark. Atop our tower at last, the wind whipped through the crenelations quickly cooling us from the brief ascent. Like archers we lined our cameras along the arrow loops hoping for the perfect shot at the sun that had already begun to brighten the morning sky into a warm blue gray.
On this particular day the clouds were hanging low on the horizon blurring what we had hoped would be a perfect glowing orb. Nonetheless the view was incredible. As the sun rose on these stones as it has for thousands of years past, its rays colored the wall a soft orange hue that was striking. It was an early morning to be sure, but the chance to witness the wall’s stones gilded in sunlight was an experience I will remember forever.
(Blog posted by wildchina on September 4, 2012. You can see the original article by following this link to wildchina.com)