7 Preventable Mistakes Hikers Make and How to Avoid Them
Hiking Great Wall of China is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the Wall. More so than any other type of activity, this outdoor adventure can get ruined in a moment, and even become very dangerous, unless you avoid making these common mistakes. Check out the 7 biggest mistakes travelers make and learn how to avoid them.
1. Not Eating Breakfast
Never skip breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day. When you go hiking the Great Wall of China, you are going on an actual hike. This is not a short stroll to the park. You will work out strenuously at some points of the hike. Therefore, you want to have your energy up. Choose food that’s full of fibre, to keep you full, and protein.
2. Not Paying Attention to the Weather
One of the first things you should be researching when planning your trip to the Great Wall is the weather during that season. Understand that the Great Wall sees extreme weather conditions ranging from heavy rains to harsh sun and heat.
Prepare for the weather, and then check the local forecast closer to your trip. A little rain isn’t a reason to cancel a hike but even the best precautions might not protect you from high winds, heavy snow or blazing heat. Weather apps can help keep you up-to-date.
Yes, you want to have everything you need when hiking the Great Wall. But there is a limit and a point when the extra weight is harmful to your hiking abilities. Pack like a minimalist—even during your day hikes. Carry only what you need and cannot buy at some point along the wall.
4. Being Overconfident
Some people think they can hike the entire Great Wall of China in a single day. Those people are swiftly corrected when visiting the monumental structure stretching 5,500 miles.
Being too confident in thinking you can hike all day long can be just as detrimental to your experience. You can easily avoid this mistake by estimating your hiking speed and set goals.
5. Not Considering Time and Pace
Evaluate the day’s hike according to two different factors. Start with the weather forecast. Then consider the hiking rating of the section of the Great Wall you are about to hike. Estimate, based on your previous hiking experiences, how long it will take you to hike the section accordingly. Try to keep the pace so you can rest assured that you will make it as far as you want.
6. Not Properly Using Trekking Poles
The Great Wall of China is made from ancient stones, bricks, and other materials that are hard and slick when wet. And since it rains quite often here, the wall tends to be slippery a lot.
Prepare for this by bringing trekking poles made from this type of surface. Practice with your poles beforehand to see how tall these need to be adjusted and how to use them safely.
7. Getting Caught in the Dark
Nightfall means cold temps and difficult routefinding. If you are caught out on the Great Wall of China in the dark, you’ll be the first to know there are no street lamps here. You are out in nature amongst campers and wildlife. Unless you intend on hiking the Great Wall in the dark, do two things.
Bring an electric or battery powered light source. Make sure you know what time the sun sets on that day. Then coordinate your hiking pace and time so that you can be back off of the wall before it gets dark.