Take a Hiking Pole on Your Great Wall of China Hike

Top Reasons Why You Should Take Hiking Poles While Hiking the Wall

young woman hiker hiking on great wall

 

Hiking poles are not for every occasion. But they are considered necessary for the Great Wall hiking right along with a good trail running shoe, sunglasses, and plenty of water. Hiking poles can help you to successfully work through steeper terrain, reduce hiking pain. While hiking poles may look a bit silly at first, they’re incredibly versatile tools that can help with all sorts of small tasks while hiking the Great Wall.

Stay Upright

The Great Wall of China gets slippery thanks to the ancient stonework. While walking on these rocks is the quintessential reason you visit the Great Wall, you want to avoid a slip and fall accident while hiking Jinshanling or Jiankou.

Bring hiking poles to stay upright and safe. This will also help protect against the dangers of sliding on the icy bricks during the fall and winter season.

Get a Helping Hand

Give yourself a resting hand for this often windy and wild walk on Gubeikou. The Great Wall gets an eclectic array of weather from hot sunny days to cold wintry winds.

To be able to withstand the strain, it helps to have an extension of your helping hand or two with hiking poles. If you visit during the busy tourist season, then it can be highly beneficial to have your own portable resting station. You are able to perch on your poles when in a crowd so to save your strength.

Take a Hiking Pole on Your Great Wall of China Hike Beijing

 

Relieve Leg Muscles

Along with your tired arms, those leg muscles will get a workout during your hike along the Great Wall of China like Huanghuacheng. Protect your muscles from strain by utilizing hiking poles. Make sure to purchase a set of hiking poles designed for your particular height without overextending them. This is important for the safety of the hiking poles and yourself.

Increase Stamina

If you attempted to hike the entire length of the Great Wall, it would take you 18 months. The most ardent visitors to the cultural icon attempt to hike an average of nine miles a day. This allows you to see the most of the Great Wall during your limited time at the landmark.

To be able to do this, you need to build up your stamina. Developing an exercise routine that involves cardiovascular exercise is one way to increase stamina. So can carrying hiking poles. When you use hiking poles, you increase the flow in your circulatory system as your arms are held at heart level. This also boosts your lung span and your stamina.

Take a Hiking Pole on Your Great Wall of China Hike China

 

Build a Shelter

If you are on the Great Wall of China during a rainstorm, then you want to protect yourself and your gear including cameras from the elements. Create a quick shelter using a couple of hiking poles and a small sheet of hiking tarp. While an ultralight shelter, this is an ideal solution for dealing with the elements on the Great Wall.

Final Tips

While you want to protect yourself, you also want to take precautions when using hiking poles. The Great Wall of China is centuries old and the stonework already gets quite a beating with foot traffic.

Choose hiking poles featuring rubber tips rather than metal spikes. This protects the surface of the Great Wall while still allowing you to maintain the benefits of hiking poles. Plus, a rubber tip offers a more stable surface compared to the tiny tip of spikes.

Great Wall of China trekking poles

 

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The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Hiking

Essential Tips For Safe and Comfortable Winter Hiking

Four women are enjoying a walk through the woodland together in winter.

 

Nature is beautiful any time, but with the world covered in snow and a clear, starry night, winter might just be the best time to see the natural world in all its glory. It can also get a little dangerous–weather can quickly turn from calm to stormy, and extreme temperatures make proper preparation even more important than in the summer.

Though hiking and other outdoor activities can be a great experience in the winter months, safety should always come first, and this list of dos and don’ts is a great place to start.

DO: Check the Weather Forecast.

  • In a rush to see the winter sights when the time is available, amateur hikers may skip this step and think they can handle whatever nature throws at them.
  • Checking the weather forecast is a vital step, as temperatures may change over the course of a day and slip from cold but reasonable to below freezing.
  • Checking the weather forecast ahead of time ensures that you’ll know what’s coming up, and while it might not always be entirely accurate, it’s best to have an informed idea about what to expect.
  • Knowing the weather ahead of time also allows you to pack accordingly–prepare for everything you can, not just what you expect.
  • While checking the weather, be sure to check trail and road conditions as well. There’s nothing worse than being geared up and ready for a great hike only to be stopped by unexpected flooding or snow blocking the road.
great wall hiking winter

 

DO: Layer Up.

  • All the fancy gear in the world isn’t going to keep you warm if you don’t layer properly.
  • Staying safe in snowy areas isn’t just about keeping warm; it’s also about keeping out moisture, including sweat.
  • Avoid cotton as the layer closest to your skin, as it may hold in moisture and cause your body to cool. It doesn’t hurt to wear two base layers, such as warm underclothing and something a little thicker, but still breathable.
  • For the next layer of clothing, wear something intended to keep the body warm. Fleece and micro-fleece are great fabric choices and will help you hold in your body heat while your bottom layers wick the moisture away from your body.
  • On the outside, you want something both wind and waterproof. If you splurge on one area of your clothing, the outer layer is where you want to do it–cheaper jackets may not breathe as well as more expensive ones.
  • Don’t skimp on shoes, either, as cold and moisture can easily lead to frostbite.

DO: Wear Sunscreen.

Wearing sunscreen in cold weather might seem a little strange, but sunburns are possible even in overcast weather.

With the added help of reflected sunlight from snow, sunburns are a real possibility in winter hiking.

Getting a sunburn any time isn’t fun, but with so many other things to look out for during winter hikes, it’s a chance you don’t really want to take.

Be sure to cover any exposed skin in a reasonable SPF–your skin will thank you for it.

DON’T: Get Dehydrated.

Drinking water is just as important in cold weather as it is in warm weather. Always pack lots of water for a hiking trip, and use water bottle covers in cold weather to keep them from freezing so quickly.

Remember that treating water using chemical treatments may take longer in cold weather, and water filters may not function as intended. Melting snow is an acceptable water source but it’s best to rely on pre-filtered water if you can–snow isn’t sterile, but it’s better than nothing at all.

If you’re new to hiking, pack more than you think you’ll need: running out of water can have dire consequences, and it’s always best to be prepared.

winter great wall hiking

 

DON’T: Skimp on Your Sleeping Situation.

Sleep is vital, especially when you’re doing a lot of physical activity. When camping during the winter months, you need to keep warm, and that doesn’t just mean piling blankets on top of yourself.

It’s actually better to place several layers underneath your sleeping bag, as this will prevent heat loss into the ground.

Sleeping pads and thick blankets make great cushions and will help you stay warmer through the night.

DON’T: Dive Right In.

Winter hiking can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can easily be dangerous. It’s always best to go in a group, especially if you have friends who are experienced with winter hiking and camping.

In cold, drastic temperatures and severe storm conditions, it’s important to be informed. Reading guides is a great start, but experiencing winter hiking and camping first hand with people who are already familiar is the best possible way to learn how to do it right.

This is by no means an exhaustive guide–everyone has their own list of tips and tricks for winter hiking, and it’s best to seek out as much knowledge as you can before venturing out into the snowy wilderness.

Try finding a group to hike with and stock up on tips from other hikers; though nature is beautiful, it can also be dangerous to the inexperienced. Start small with experienced friends and you’ll be a winter adventuring expert in no time!

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How to Get a More Meaningful Travel Experience

10 Ways to Make Your Travel More Meaningful

How to Get a More Meaningful Travel Experience Beijing

 

Social media has transformed the travel industry and ushered FOMO (fear of missing out) into the public corridor of anxiety. Who hasn’t questioned their life choices after seeing an acquaintance’s snaps from a glamorous location?

When we travel, it’s difficult to not feel like you’re missing out or not making the most of the experience, and that anxiety is enough to cast a pall over your precious little vacation days. To help, here are some tips to have the most fulfilling, meaningful travel experience without breaking the bank or suffering a nervous breakdown.

10. Eat away From Monuments

Most of the time, establishments that enjoy the view of a major landmark just don’t try as hard. If you can see a famous monument from your table, your meal will be overpriced. Even if cost isn’t an issue, most of these locations are built on single visit customers unfamiliar with local standards of quality, so there is no incentive to use good ingredients or even make food to order. While this may vary based on region (it’s more of an issue in touristy spots than lowkey places), walking a bit further will usually be worth it.

9. Limit Your Creature Comforts

This is especially true for vacationers. Don’t use your two weeks of holiday trying to be comfortable all the time. The happiness you think that neck pillow or hamburger will provide provide is minimal. People tend to crave creature comforts when they are bored or restless, so grab some local snacks from the market and wander the town. You may think that not bringing those shoes or that top will ruin the trip, but it’s actually the anxiety of making those decision that ruins things.

How to Get a More Meaningful Travel Experience

 

8. Stop Trying to Find Yourself

Despite most pop culture narratives, people don’t change over the course of a week-long relaxer. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re doing something different, everything after that is going to be different. Seeking out tokened spirituality is a sure-fire way not to find it. Remember, your hangover or tan or quirky encounter with a monk probably aren’t going to be the makings of the next Eat, Pray, Love, no matter how much you force it.

7.  Authenticity Can Be a Red Herring

Authenticity has become a dominant aesthetic in the travel/culture industry. People want their experiences to be genuine and sincere, but it’s easy to lose perspective. There are authentic experiences and places in your country that you’re probably not so keen on, and their foreign equivalents won’t be much more rewarding. The truth is, unless you have a lot of money and time to get off the beaten track, you’re going to get some artifice. Rather than seeking out authenticity, think about what you really want to get out of your vacation/travel and pursue it.

6. Accept That There Will Be Discomfort

Suffering is part of life, and no matter what you do for your vacation, there will be discomfort. Maybe your bags get lost, you don’t take to the food, or the weather makes you gross. Deal with it. There’s nothing you can pack or do preemptively that will make your experience totally perfect, so stop trying to control everything and make the most of your time.

5. Learn a Bit of Local Stuff (and Don’t Make a Big Deal of It)

No one expects you to become fluent in another language for a week of fun, but learning a bit of local culture can be enriching and endearing. Speaking a bit of a local language can make you seem humble and endear you to the local community. The positive effects of this are lost once you make a big show of it. Similarly, knowing a bit about local culture, especially taboos, can avoid unpleasant situations. Brushing up on your local history will also make the experience more rewarding, since it’s easier to forge connections with your surroundings.

Meaningful Travel Experience

 

4. Make Realistic Goals

You probably aren’t going to change your life or the world on your holiday, but you can come away from it feeling enriched and more relaxed. Be realistic about your expectations for your vacation. If you want to explore and see things that others miss, then plan beforehand. If you want to relax, then get it done. Just be honest with yourself. Half-measures are often unfulfilling.

3. Learn to Observe

Experienced budget travelers know that people-watching is a brilliant vacation pastime, but this is a tip for everybody. Learn to relax, watch, and enjoy what’s going on around you. It seems simple, but people forget to take everything in, especially on holiday. However, avoid drawing firm conclusions about what you see. Just because you saw one person tie his or her shoes a certain way doesn’t mean everybody on the island does that.

2. Polities Don’t Always Translate, But Body Language Usually Does

You’re a polite person, you appreciate how you’ve been treated, and you really want to express that. That’s great, but remember that different cultures have different expectations of politeness, and verbal polities often don’t translate. People don’t always understand, and dousing others in your customs can seem weird and overbearing. Body language, however, is easy to suss out, especially when it’s negative. Your anger, discomfort, or disdain will be easy to spot.

1. Don’t Exoticize or Fetishize

People tend to attach importance to things that are different or uncommon to them. Don’t let travel become a means of fetishizing things just because they’re different. An open-mind and a sense of humility are key, but overcompensating by holding things to a higher standard because they are different or quirky to you is just another form of ignorance and disrespect.

These tips may not ensure a perfect vacation, but they can help make the most out of a travel experience. Remember, this is something you’re doing for you, not for Instagram.

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How to Deal With the Stress of Solo Travel

Top Tips for Stress-Free Solo Travel

How to Deal With the Stress of Solo Travel

 

Traveling alone can be an incredible experience. Without anyone else to dictate your movements, you can be free to set your own agenda. You can see however many Buddhist temples you like, check out the Great Wall of China or gaze at every work of art in the Louvre.

However, there’s no denying that solo travel can have a dark side. Being alone and abroad is stressful. You might start to feel homesick or anxious, and minor mishaps can start to feel like disasters. Instead of relaxing and enjoying your trip, the whole experience can quickly start to resemble a chore.

Things don’t have to work out that way, and there are plenty of things you can do to make solo travel a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Here are some pro-tips from people who have beaten their travel anxiety and discovered how to see the world on their own terms.

Don’t be a Slave to Your Schedule

If you’re traveling solo, it’s tempting to fill your schedule up with activities. Subconsciously, your brain might be telling you to work extra-hard to cram your days with sightseeing and tours, instead of wandering aimlessly around strange cities.

However, there’s really nothing wrong with aimless wandering. It’s a great way to get to know a city, and it can also be relaxing. Try to avoid packing your itinerary with structured activities. Instead, leave some empty time to relax and lose yourself in the life of wherever you travel. You never know what you might find and you wont risk burning out in the first few days of your trip.

Young male photographer looking at mountain scenery during golden hour sunset in Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. Travel and photography concept

 

Record Your Emotions to Understand Them Better

Part of the stress of traveling alone is not having anyone to talk to when you feel confused, lost or homesick. You’ll probably feel all of those things at some point in your trip. They are just natural reactions to being in unfamiliar surroundings, but they can ruin your experience.

One way to get to grips with negative emotions when you travel alone is by keeping a daily journal. You could pack a small diary with you or log your thoughts on a smartphone or tablet. Either way, putting your emotions into language helps to put them in perspective.

Take Extra Care Over Transport Connections

One of the most stressful things about solo travel is making connections between trains or flights (or even boats). With no-one to jog your memory or keep you disciplined, it can be easy to forget routes, make a mess of departure times or lose tickets.

If this sounds familiar, planning your connections is well worth the effort. Before you go, write down some phone numbers for bus companies and train lines. Know how to hail cabs in your destination and have the name of airports and stations handy to tell the driver.

Be extra-cautious about giving yourself enough time to make your departures as well. It’s always fine to be half an hour early. Stations and airports can be great places to people watch, after all. What’s not fine is seeing your departure gate closing or your train ease out of the station without you on board.

Give Yourself Time to Adjust

Whenever people enter a different culture, it takes time to get used to the sights and sounds and the way people act. Being a long way from home can also be extremely stressful. However, these sensations are not permanent. They might feel powerful, or even overwhelming, but you will adjust.

The first few days of any trip will always be an adjustment phase, so be prepared for a rocky time. After that, everything becomes much easier. You’ll become more confident when dealing with strangers. You will find it easier to navigate foreign cities, and you’ll get much more value from your everyday activities.

Stress of Solo Travel Great Wall

 

Stay in Touch With Friends Back Home

Social media can be a great way to ease the stress of adapting to your surroundings. You might be thousands of miles from home, but nothing is stopping you from sharing photographs and thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. Aside from being a source of encouragement, social media can spur you on to experience more exciting things and see more exotic sights.

However, try to stay away from social media for long periods. Hostels around the world are full of people on smartphones talking to friends in their home country, when they should be making new connections and diving into the culture of their destination.

Try to strike a balance. For the first couple of days, use social media to help you get by, but gradually decrease your exposure as you start to become more relaxed.

Always Know Where to Pick Up A Second-Hand Book

This is a great tip for novice travelers. Before you set out on your trip, log onto Google and make a list of second-hand bookshops in every city you plan to visit. Most major cities have bookshops with English language sections, and they can be a great place to meet other travelers.

Books are a great way to forget about your travel stress. If you feel lonely, head to park or beach, settle down for a couple of hours and engage your imagination. Reading really does help to set your mind at rest.

Relax, Persevere and You’ll be Fine

Travel stress is totally natural. Remember that. Your fellow hostel guests or tour customers might seem self-assured and confident, but if they are on their own, they have almost certainly gone through their own periods of anxiety.

By planning your travel, finding ways to zone out, using social media, keeping a flexible schedule and recording your thoughts, you can find a route to stress-free travel. So if you are having second thoughts about a backpacking vacation, put your worries to one side and prepare for a life-changing experience.

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9 Excellent Tips for Hiking the Great Wall of China in Hot Weather

Essential Rules For Hot Weather Great Wall Hiking

young woman hiker hiking on great wall

 

Summer is probably the best time for hiking the Great Wall of China, yet you can often feel like it’s the worst possible time to be outdoors. Clear, sunny skies, and longer daylight hours can translate into an amazingly full day on the Wall. But these skies and long days can bake you in the heat. When the temperature rises, it can become difficult to keep yourself motivated and calm.

You can still enjoy the stunning Great Wall in the same hot weather. You just have to adjust the way you think, and take a few extra precautions beyond the basics. You don’t have to let high temperatures keep you from experiencing this amazing landmark.

1.Start Your Hike Early or Finish Late

Not everyone likes to wake up early, and your trip doesn’t have to feel like you are going to work; just find a balance between the amount of sleep you need and lowering your exposure to afternoon heat.

It typically involves a 2.5-hour drive from Beijing into Jinshanling or Jiankou. Waking up before 6.30am in the Summer months is highly recommended. Skip the midday heat, don’t hike between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hike during the coolest time of day.

2. Check the Weather Forecast

Don’t just assume that you’d be fine on the Wall. Hot weather comes with a number of risks. It is crucial to check on the forecast before you plan the trip.

In the mountainous area, keep in mind that weather in the mountains is generally colder and more severe than in the valleys, and the weather can change quickly. The rays from the sun are also stronger from a mountain top, and you’ll get burned faster – even more so if you are sweating consistently.

Humidity could be a signal for rainfall. Be prepared in advance.

Thunderstorms are more common when it’s hot. Keep yourself safe in all situations. Before you set out, make sure you have checked over the most up-to-date forecast for the area you’ll be hiking.

3. Protect Your Skin

When it comes to hot, dry and humid weather, your skin needs the adequate protection. Sunburns can damage your skin. They also affect body’s ability to cool down, which increases risks of dehydration.

Loose fitting pants and sleeves with wide-brimmed will do wonders on a summer hike. The more you are able to protect your skin from the rays of the sun, the happier you will feel.

Apply sunscreen that offers at least a SPF 30, 30 minutes before heading out. Put it underneath your clothes as well. Wear a hat or head covering to ensure that your head and neck does not get too hot.

Also, do not wear cotton as it is one of the worst fabrics while hiking.

young woman hiker hiking on great wall

 

4. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Staying hydrated is the key to every successful outdoor adventure. This is particularly essential when you’re hiking the Great Wall in extremely hot weather.

If you decide to hike in the summer months, dry and hot conditions along with physical exertion can cause you to become dehydrated very quickly.

Your body loses about one liter of water per hour on a regular hike. A challenging outing in hot weather usually doubles this amount. Ensure that you replenish constantly, otherwise you will dehydrate during your hike.

5. Eat Salty Snacks

Sweating is obvious when it comes to hiking in hot weather. As water is essential to restore your body fluid levels, it is just as important for restocking the electrolytes that you lose through sweat. The more important types are sodium and potassium. These play a vital role when it comes to managing energy levels.

Bring along snacks that feature complex carbs. Avoid the simple carbs such as candy or sugary drinks. Good snacks include fruit or energy bars which offer a better source for complex carbs.

6. Take Regular Breaks

Continuous hiking in hot weather is near to impossible. Your tired body needs few minutes to relax. Regular breaks on a hot day allow your body to cool down and sweat to evaporate.

Hiking continuously in hot weather is close to impossible. Your body becomes tired, and you will need some time in between to relax. Regular breaks allows your body to cool down and sweat on your skin to evaporate.

Put your backpack down, lay down, and give your body some much-needed rest. Drink water and have some snacks to restock your energy that will keep you going for the next few hours.

Take your backpack off, sit or lie down to let your body get the rest it needs. In this time either eat snacks or drink water to restock the fuel and energy that you are going to need over the next leg of the journey.

It is also a good idea to remove your socks and hiking boots to air your sweaty socks and feet.

Keep in mind that your hike is not a race. If you start to feel fatigued, let other people in the group know that you want to stop to take a break.

young woman hiker hiking on great wall

 

7. Be Aware of Heat Stroke

Know what symptoms are linked to heat stroke. Listen to your body, which will tell you when you can push forward, and when it’s time to take a break. Rest when you are tired and eat as soon as you feel hungry.

Common signs of heat stroke

Headache
Nausea
Muscle cramps
Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
Heavy sweating
Faintness
Dizziness
Fatigue
Weak, rapid pulse

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, stop immediately and find a shady place, to cool your body down.

8. Light Apparel

When you hike in hot weather, try to wear lighter colors that will reflect the rays of the sun opposed to dark colors that absorb them. Look for pants, shorts or shirts in a khaki, tan or white color.

It is best to wear hiking pants, a long sleeve shirt and good quality boots. The more you able to shield your skin the more comfortable you will feel.

Choose boots that feature a breathable fabric, so that sweaty and wet feet will not become an issue during the hike. Choose clothes that fit loosely which allows for improved airflow while keeping you cooler.

9. Don’t Expect It To Be Sunny All Day

It is natural to assume mainly sunlight during the months of summer. Yet keep in mind that when you hike in the terrains with a higher altitude, the path will usually have its own weather system. While it might be humid and hot down town, in the mountains you may experience a monsoon. It is vital that you check with the weather bulletins before you head out onto a trail.

If it is too hot, then simply change your plans and don’t go.

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