Organic, jagged, untamed, private. These are not words used often to describe places near Beijing, a body-packed engine of commercial drive. But the ‘Wild Wall’ at Jiankou, a 2 hour journey from the capital, is just this. Rising out of the rock, the wall is slowly being reclaimed by the craggy mountains, leaf by leaf. It’s truly an artwork, a synthesis of natural and manmade powers have forged this Wall.
‘Jiankou’ itself is the lowest point of this part of the Wall. Nestled in the heart of a valley above a small village, it is a half-day hike west of Mutianyu, a refurbished section that has become the most popular tourist destination in the area.
Colours are perhaps my most vivid memories of the Jiankou pass. The rocks along the pathways here have been polished white with hikers’ footsteps. In summer, it is lush green from head to toe; but in April, for 1 week each year, you may be lucky enough to witness the blooming cherry and peach blossoms blanketing these peaks.