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Exhausting! BUT VERY EXHILARATING!!! The first day's hike Jiankou to Mutianyu was over eight kilometres, and the second day's hike Jinshanling to Simatai West was about six kilometres. We covered both the restored and unrestored parts of the Wall on both days and we encountered very few other tourists somewhat more on the second day than the first day which made for excellent photo ops. The overnight accommodation at a nearby guesthouse was basic but adequate clean and safe with excellent dinner and breakfast. Wu Yaxin is a very capable and interesting guide for this hiking tour -- kudos to him for making this a very memorable trip for me.
My humble advices: 1 DO NOT take this tour if you are not in good health, especially if you have leg/knee/foot problems and/or cardio-vascular issues. The Great Wall was built along the ridges of the mountain ranges in order to secure the strategic highest grounds. Therefore, it meanders along these ridges where there are constant changes in elevations both upwards and downwards, and VERY STEEPLY at many stretches. 2 Prepare for all kinds of weather. My group quite literally experienced four weather conditions in the course of the two days at the end of July 2015: fog actually low clouds at mountain tops overcast sky heavy rain forced to stop and rest at one of the forts and beautiful sunshine. 3 Wear good hiking shoes. You will be glad you did, especially at the steep inclines.
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