Travel Theme: Mountains

Ailsa’s Travel Theme for this week is Mountains

I was thinking hard as to which mountains I should feature.  I was wondering whether, again, I should show mountains from various geographical regions. Some of these could be spectacular, others may look all too familiar. However, I am uncertain that this is the most interesting way of going about it.

Naturally, I start looking into my archive, wanting to comb through to see what photos are to be included. The archives are in alphabetical order.  When I reached “B” for Beijing, I thought I have the answer. . . . .  . . .  . .  I would feature the mountains in Beijing around the picturesque area in Miutianyu where the Great Wall snakes through.DSCF2660

Surrounded by tree-covered mountains in Huairou County is the Mutianyu (慕田峪Mùtiányù) section of the Great Wall.   This section of the Great Wall dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) when the wall was constructed over the site of another wall built by the Qi Dynasty (550-577).DSCF2719

It was  a hazy afternoon in late Autumn last year when we walked up the mountains. The sun illuminated the trees around us, showing the mountain in all its colors.DSCF2706

The sun was almost overhead, it illuminated the slopes and trees on both sides of the Great Wall as we made our ascent.DSCF2718

The views were breathtaking as we laboriously and gradually made our way up. Mutianyu is surprisingly well-preserved because of the solid granite blocks that were used during the original construction. The wall was renovated during the 1980’s at the direction of the Chinese government. Being 7 to 8 meters high, and 4 to 5 meters wide, the Mutianyu Wall meanders for about 2.5 kilometers and has 22 watch towers, forming a northern barrier for capital Beijing. It looks like a giant snake winding its way up the mountain ridges.DSCF2646

It was a long and winding road up the mountains. We walked up the mountains for a couple of hours, taking pictures along the way. With each ascending step, we felt the mystery and greatness of the wall. The Autumn foliage on both sides of the wall brought us warmth and colors.  All this added up to an unforgettable and inevitable sense of being part of eternity.DSCF2716

As we walked through different sections, we were awed at the beautiful scenery. Apparently the section that we walked is the most beautiful, as it is surrounded with trees and mountains beyond. As the wall twists and turns, so do the views that were spectacular.DSCF2653

The Great Wall is a romantic place for lovers too!DSCF2686

The views from the 22 watchtowers are breathtaking especially during the short Autumn season when the leaves have changed their colors. We climbed up the stairs and ladders of various watch towers and were rewarded with even greater views.DSCF2659

After walking for hours, the sun was starting to set. The sunlight cast giant shadows on the leeward slopes; leaving some tree tops of the taller trees illuminated.DSCF2673

The hills and trees appeared differently now, it was breathtaking to views trees against the light from the setting sun.DSCF2720

The 1400 step leads into a watchtower, where sound and time instantaneously cease.  Climbing down the narrow steps, one slowly came to terms that one was walking on timelessness. Thousands of years have gone by, but somehow, this wall remains. Grand and dignified, this wall has been a lone witness to the bloodshed battles in history. An inexplicable feeling of  timelessness remained for a long time in our minds.