If you have time to do a hike on the Great Wall, then you must do this. This is one of the unrestored areas and a once in a lifetime experience. I chose a private tour through Tour-Beijing.com. What was supposed to bea 2.5-hour drive to the starting point at Jiankou Great Wall was cut short due to rain and traffic. Instead, after an 1.5 hour drive the driver dropped us off in a sleepy town and across the bathrooms was a sign that read something close to Great Wall no access. I look at my guide my guide looks at me and says it's ok we go. Insert Hmmm emoji here. Well, the locals didn't seem to give 2 &*#@s and I could see from the American litter that people had accessed it before, so I thought we go.
We hiked up the unrestored section west toward the restored Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Not a single tourist in sight for hours. Covered in brush with very narrow sections. It took about 2-3 hours to hike with a few breaks in between to eat and take pictures. I enjoyed this more than the restored part at Mutianyu which has a Subway sandwich place at the bottom. FOR REALS!! I was like where's the Starbucks, and my guide laughed and said give it time.
It rained a bit, but we still trekked through. There is a sketchy part where you meet up with Mutianyu at Tower 1. The window to the watchtower is sealed due to a horrible past incident. So we had to hike along the side of the tower where there is a steep drop off. There is this ramp that leads up to another closed off window of the tower that's perpendicular to where we were hiking. We had to jump onto the ramp and then climb into one of the windows. The guide did it first and made it through the window. I walked along the ramp and there were a couple stones sticking out of the tower where I tried to secure my footing. At this point, I am holding onto a couple of handholds and standing on two little stones facing wall. I look down and see that I'm about 15-20 feet above the hill (which was probably more like 3-4 feet, but still) and if I were to fall, I'd probably break a leg then go tumbling down into the dead trees and my poor mama would have to fly to China to get me from the hospital. The guide told me it was ok, to grab his hand. So I did and he pulled me up (we were the same size) and I used my awesome Lowa boots to help gain some traction to walk my way up the vertical wall. I made it through the window and then tourists were staring at us like WTF where did you guys come from because last time i looked out that window it was a steep drop off. So I looked back at them and gave then yeah my guide is awesome he saved my life look.
We walked through the restored section and it too was amazing, but not the same feeling as the authentic unrestored section. Be careful because the restored section is slippery due to so many tourists walking on them making stone essentially making it slick stone. We were able to walk to most of the Tower heading up towards Jiankou. We stopped at Tower 12 and then hiked back down to Tower 10 and then made our way to SUBWAY where I took a pic and scrammed. Heck no was I going to all the way to China and eat Subway. We ate a local Chinese restaurant where my guide proceeded to tell me that I paid way too much for my T-shirt I bought from a great wall vendor that read I Heart BJ. :)