An early start, which I think will become the norm, packing an overnight bag before setting off to the Great Wall for our first hike. It's a 3 hour drive to today's start point, a drive primarily through the smog shrouded farmland, with vague hints of hillside lurking just on the edge of what's visible.
We picked up a guide for the first day of our hike, as we had to skirt around a military area. This part of the hike was around 20 towers, mainly over unkempt wall, with lots of missing stonework and some narrow ledges. There were no other hikers on this stretch for the entire day. The evening was spent in a basic but serviceable hostel in a more touristy area that we had reached.
Day 2 on the wall started wet, with lightning keeping us from starting our hike until after a light lunch at a farmer's house. Today's wall was in a far better state of repair, but the visibility was terrible, and after maybe 10 towers in the rain, we had entered the clouds via some terrifyingly steep steps. With little more to see, and with the wall becoming more unkept and us all becoming wetter and wetter, we turned back to the hostel for drying and warming.