As we were driving out of Beijing towards the wall, the sky turned dark, really dark! It was 10am in the morning and it seriously looked like the middle of the night! We arrived at the gate of the ancient section of the Badaling Great Wall where we were going to start hiking when the sky opened and the rain started pouring down. We had to wait when we got to the wall because it is steep and the rain would have made it treacherous. The plan was to hang out for a couple hours and hopefully the weather would improve. Some of our group decided to brave the rain and explore a bit of the wall anyway, then it got worse! Pitch darkness, lightening, flooding rains, unlike anything I have ever seen! I was having recollections of passages from Revelations in the Bible! A rescue mission with headlamps was organized to go collect half our group who were caught in the pitch darkness on the wall. The storm cleared in about an hour and we had lunch along with a huge game of hacky sack in the parking lot while things dried out.
Finally, by about 1:30pm we were able to start our 6km trek. It was quite steep in places and we went through several watch towers. The clouds hung around which made it hard to see to much of the surrounding scenery but i am glad it wasn’t sweltering heat like i had imagined it to be. It was also nice that our Chinese friends were able to join us for this part of the journey. All in all the first day on the wall was exhilarating, between the crazy weather and the thrill of bum sliding down broken, slippery sections of rock.