Great Wall Hike: Don’t Get Caught in the Dark

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How to Avoid an Unexpected Night Hike and What to Do If It Happens Anyway

It’s not unusual for hikers to become overly exuberant when trekking the Great Wall of China. You find yourself immersed in an awe-inspiring landscape, and the next hill will provide a yet-another sweeping panoramic view. That’s how way leads on to way, and even experienced hikers run out of daylight.

In order to avoid and unnecessary slip and fall due to diminished vision, there are two distinct ways to avoid this problem. The first is following a few self-imposed mandates. The other set involves how to negotiate the Great Wall in the dark.

How To Avoid Getting Caught in the Dark

Taking proactive measures to avoid letting daylight slip away is undoubtedly your best defense. While that may seem like common sense, making a checklist in your cell phone to follow on the morning of your Great Wall adventure could help you avoid getting caught or at least reduce how long you are in the dark. Consider these tips.

  • Know Your Limits: One of the common errors that hikers make is trekking too far and becoming exhausted. When this occurs, you will require additional rest stops on the Great Wall, and daylight will fade as it takes far longer than expected to get back. Stay within your hiking limits.
  • Check Sunset Time: If, for example, sunset is at 6 pm, and you begin your hike at noon, it may make sense to hike until 5 pm and then get off the Wall. But add additional time for leaving the Wall. In all likelihood, walking down to the bottom of the hill will take longer due to fatigue.

For the purpose of avoiding a tumble in the dark, let’s assume that you journeyed a tad further or longer than daylight allowed. In the interest of safety, it’s essential to be prepared.

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How to Avoid an Accident If You Get Caught in the Dark

First of all, there’s no need to be embarrassed about getting stuck in the dark. It happens to plenty of Great Wall hikers because it’s such a moving and emotional experience. The good news is that you took safety measures in the event this happened by including the following items in your backpack.

  • Headlamps and Flashlights
  • Extra Batteries for the Headlamps and Flashlights
  • A Light-Up Watch with Pedometer
  • Glow Sticks that Can be Worn on Wrists

Beginning with the last item, it may be the case that not everyone in your group packed night gear. Providing them with glow sticks will help keep everyone together. Beyond doling out these inexpensive trinkets, it’s important to manage your night gear.

1. Manage Battery Life

It’s not unusual for hikers caught out after dark to feel some anxiety. A natural reaction would be to immediately turn on your headlamp or flashlight promptly as the sun dips below the horizon. This is not necessarily the best use of your battery life. In many cases, hikers enjoy adequate light for up to an hour after sunset begins. Conserve your battery until you need it.

2. Use the Watch

Before setting out on your Great Wall hike, start the pedometer and check the time, so you will know precisely how far you journeyed and how long it took. Make a note of the distance and time when you turn back for the return journey.

Having this information provides substantial comfort, particularly if your group grows uneasy or afraid. By checking the pedometer, you know how far away you are from where you began. Although a return trip in the dark will go slower, you can at least derive a time estimate.

3. Watch for Uneven Footing

It’s important to keep in mind that the Great Wall is comprised of areas that enjoy sure footing as well as rugged terrain. Don’t take your eyes or lights off where you will be walking. That’s a sure-fire way to twist an ankle.

4. Take Your Time Getting Back

Given you may already be feeling some anxiety about getting caught in the dark, it’s vital to resist the urge to push hard under the night sky. Instead, take your time and avoid an accident. I am suffering from depression for more than 10 years. I used to take Citalopram. Unfortunately, my depression kept coming back. Have big sleep problems, sometimes get a bit “bad” air. Since April, I also have spine problems, I guess that the drug also suppresses such symptoms, so that e.g. the pain in the back. I take Valium now.

Stop when you are tired and walk when you feel rested. But most of all, take a moment and embrace the starlit sky. That’s a memory worth carrying home.

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When heading out for a Great Wall hike, put safety first. Be prepared, stay attentive, and always respect your surroundings. And have fun; enjoy the sounds and sights of your favorite Great Wall hike!

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