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.

85 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Mountains

    • This is a section of the wall further away from downtown Beijing. We visited this in early November, on a week day, just before Beijing was hit by a snow storm. You are correct, there wasn’t a lot of people on that day. We felt we were pretty left on our own the further we walk from the starting point. Thank you Jessica 🙂

  1. What a beautiful selection of pictures for your challenge. It sounds like the climb was a bit of a work out! Well worth it I’m sure. Lovely photographs.

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  3. You have given us some amazing views of mountains and the winding turns of the wall of China. I am glad to have seen them through your eyes.


  4. That Great Wall … is something – awesome … imaging all the people it took to built and also how many died during the building – some respectful place. Great photo gallery … of something so magnificent.

  5. Good timing for your visit. I visited in the summer, and most of the pictures I see look similar to mine (i.e. green)
    I don’t recall ever seeing pics with that much foliage color.

    • We were fortunate to be there late Autumn last year and just before the onset of the snow storm which killed some trapped tourists at the Great Wall. Thank you 🙂

  6. Most definitely on my list of places to go see. The scenery in itself is beautiful enough to want to witness, but the wall and it’s history make it look like an amazing trip! Love the photos through the arched openings.

  7. These are beautiful (no doubt), but I think my favorite one is the last image of the sun glowing on the foliage. I love the angle of the trees growing on the mountain side. I presume you took it looking over the wall?

    • Hi Kathleen, if you can do 1000 steps in several hours, you will be OK. In any case, you don’t have to walk the whole section of Mutianyu, you can always walk a distance and retrace your steps to the starting point. From that perspective, you only need to be fit for walking and negoiating some steps. Thank you 🙂

  8. We visited Mutianyu in the winter time and almost perished from the bitter cold, but it was stunning and absolutely deserted. Did you take the luge slide back down to the bottom? That was a lot of fun! 🙂

    • You were brave to take the luge slide down to the bottom in winter. We didn’t, we came back using cable car. The snow view must be brethtaking as well. I saw some of these in your post. Thank you 🙂

  9. To walk along the Great Wall is an unforgettable life’s experience, it is so steeped in history, and I know what you mean by the term walked laboriously. Stunning photos Michael I was there in the spring of 1989 the year of the Tiananmen Massacre

    • It shouldn’t be that laborious if we didn’t try to walk all 22 watch towers. As you said this was an unforgettable experience and we like this place better than the Great Wall at Baidaling. Regards, Michael

  10. O my, all of these photos are strikingly breathtaking. The history of the site is remarkable and so is the distance… of the Great Wall. Thank you for sharing this wealth of information and culture.

  11. Beautiful – and a big part of the beauty is the colour of the leaves . Have you been on this trek at other rtimes of the year to see differences? A joy to see… Thanks for sharing.

    • As the theme was “Mountains” so I didn’t really focus on the wall itself. Maybe some day, I will cover more on the wall, the steps, watch towers etc. Thank you for your perusal and kind comment:-)

  12. Gorgeous scenes. So many masterful “drawings” inherent in the layout of that place. I know you had fun discovering vantage points and patterns in the scenery there. Love it!

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