Incredible photos show one hiker's experience of walking (and nearly dying on) the rural Great Wall of China

By James Griffiths, November 26, 2013

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Bryce Plankao, who goes by the handle 'estate8143' on Reddit, recently tried to 'hike along the rural Great Wall of China for 4 days', by his own estimate he failed to do this (in fact, he may have almost died in the process), but he got some great photos out of the experience. As a bonus, in the same thread where he discussed his Great Wall hike, Plankao also provided the above video of hiking Huang Shan, which is inadvertently hilarious given the awkwardness of carrying a camera attached to a pole at all times. 

The trailhead. I read in a guidebook, that you can follow the wall for 4 days into another village. I can't deny that they did not warn me about the trail.

The climate is hot and humid, but the views are great.

This section is not officially open to the public, however locals installed a ladder and charge money for entering the wall. 

I did not find any water in that valley. I realize that I have a serious problem. However, I decided to move on anyway. I knew that was a bad decision, but I am not rational when I am thirsty.

The wall is not completely restored from this point on.

At some point, I realize, that I need water and that I have to walk all the way back into the village. On the way to the village, I stop to sweat and it feels very strange. I was on the edge of collapse at that point. I had the feeling that if I rest now, that I would not be able to get up again. 

Finally in the village,I collect as many empty bottles on the side of the road and fill them up at a water tap and purify the water. Now I got more that 8,5 liters. Time to restart the hike.

When I am up at the wall again in the late evening, there is a thunderstorm, and I am pretty exposed on the wall. After I took that picture, I start to run.

I find shelter in a tower on the wall.

Since It is dark, I decide to spend the night here. Pretty windy, but dry.

I start very early to avoid the heat of the day. I decide to hike as long as the water will get me. I realize that it is impossible to hike to the next village. Fortunately I found a full 2 liter bottle of water in that tower. Good, that I got water purification chemicals with me.

The wall is only partially restored here.

There is no trash anywhere and the trail is very small. I doubt many people come up here. There is nobody up there.

I don't have climbing experience, but I have to pass this cliff. The rocks were easy to climb, however the desolate stairs at top freaked me out. I had to pull myself up on that loose stones. It was probably the most dangerous situation I've ever experienced. Even a broken leg can mean death through dehydration out there. I should have brought at least a cellphone. 

On the steep steps above, I take a picture of myself, because I wanted to know how I look like when I am scared. I also realize, that I eventually have to go back down here.

The ridge is only a little bit restored.  The original wall is just a pile of stones.

My lunch. Bread with penguin sausage. At top of the first peak, I decide to return back down. There seam to be an old trail down there.

I crawled down there somehow. The trail was there, but so overgrown and hardly used, that I only saw it on the GPS. I slipped about 3 times on that path.

At last a panoramic shot from the morning scene. I reached the street down there and managed to get a bus into a bigger town and another one to a Beijing subwaystation. 

[Photos and video: Bryce Plankao // Via: Reddit]

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