The Great Wall a great success of a trip

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About three-quarters of the way through the hike, visitors come to the Simatai portion of the wall. There was a very elderly man at this guardhouse yelling "Cola cola beer beer!" over and over again. Here, walkers must pay an additional 40 yuan to finish the hike. Three of us almost got away without paying, but one of our American friends brought this to the attention of the guard, who quickly chased us down and made us pay, which we did happily.


The last few kilometers of the hike are spectacular. The wall descends down to almost the bottom of a valley before shooting back up the mountainside. Upon seeing this, a couple of us thought we would have to hike over the mountain before getting to the exit. Considering that it was humid and about 34 degrees, it was not something we looked forward to. Fortunately, we only had to ascend about a quarter of the final mountain before reaching the exit.



On the way to the exit, visitors cross an impressive suspension footbridge. It costs 5 yuan to cross, and considering that the part of the wall that is skipped by taking the bridge was closed, it seems like hikers have no other option. After crossing the bridge, there was one more surprise for us.



From the exit, it's about a one kilometer walk to the parking lot. However, there was a zip line visitors could take down for 40 yuan, or almost US$6. A zip line is a cable that people are tied to with a harness that lets them slide down from one height to another. This zip line took users across the river and descended about two hundred meters. From the landing area, a boat would take users to the parking lot. After eating a refreshing Popsicle, a couple of us decided to hop on the zip line and fly down the mountain.

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