Day two of our aim to conquer the Great Wall (or at least 60 kilometers of it) and the team is ready to rumble. We ros early and were greeted by glorious sunshine, blue skies, and the powerful Wall looking above us. After a quick breakfast of fried bread, pancakes, eggs, fruit, potatoes, and tea we hit the road to our next access point - Gubeiko.
One of the most strategically important parts of the wall, Gubeiko winds along the spine of Beijing's northern mountains, diving into valleys and crawling carefully to the apex of each peak before disappearing into the horizon.
Our target was 5 hours of walking and my goodnessp did we take it full on. Right from the start our pace was determined and we hit each milestone 20-30 minutes ahead of schedule. We laughed, we joked, but mostly we pushed each others' jaws back into place after extended periods of "oh my gosh it's mesmerizing." Trish, Claudia, and Paul pressed on while Francis taught Michael how to make friends with the locals.
As we neared hour 4 of seemingly endless stairs the calves were burning and, pores were sweating, and the breath was panting. Stil, we hunkered down, cheered each other on, and reached our stopping point before dark!
On getting to the lodge, exhausted Paul collapsed in bed while the rest of us enjoyed a well-deserved piping hot shower before dinner, beer, wine, some local shopping (get excited relatives!), and quality Aussie banter.
To bed we go in anticipation of what I am sure will be another brilliant day taking steps for the Heart Research Centre.
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