Two days ago, I returned to Huairou ready to continue walking the Great Wall after having sorted out my visa in Beijing. In the evening however, a mighty thunderstorm started that lasted for more than 24 hours. I have experienced many thunderstorms, but never one that lasted as long and was so intense.

Walking the Great Wall in the Beijing municipality is hard work at the best of times. The area has many of the most dangerous sections of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

The hottest time of the year is a month away, but already the weather is very hot. This increases the amount of fluids I need every day which in turn increases the weight of my backpack.

Because of the extreme weather and terrain I will be moving through the next couple of months, I will have to be extra careful not to set out on any stretches that I think will be too dangerous.

It is hard to make the right decisions about which stretches to walk, and which to leave out. Sometimes, a stretch of the Great Wall may look fine on the map with topographical information. When I start walking it however, it may suddenly end at a steep ridge or cliff which is impossible to get around due to the “near impossibility to get through foliage”. Too many misses like this, and I will never reach my goal. Other times, stretches that look very hard may be easier in reality.

I go back to the Great Wall tomorrow and am excited to see how warm 35C feels here compared to the deserts in Gansu and Ningxia provinces. At least it will be easier to find shade here…

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