Today we took on one of the greatest structures in the world, the Great Wall. We spent about an hour and a half driving out into the rural mountainside of Beijing. To actually get to the wall we took what was reminiscent of a ski lift up the mountain. Once at the top, our guide gave us an hour to explore the wall and take pictures. Mr. Lowinger and I raced through part of the wall within the first few minutes of our release and I traversed the various and near vertical inclines of stairs. To my surprise, the wall was actually rather steep in some areas and provided a challenge when jogging or running. Yet you are so high up that the views are breathtaking. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Most of the group traveled in the same direction as Mr Lowinger and I so we were able to take in everything together. Also, we captured many photographs of each other climbing, posing, and exploring the wall. When we had to come back to our starting point, there was a shared sense of mild sadness in the air because of all the joy shared on the great stone structure. However, the mood lightened when we realized we would take toboggans down the mountain. We raced down the mountainside on those little sleds but the speed, which I increased greatly, gave a large rush of adrenaline. Overall, everyone came to the consensus that the wall was perhaps one of the greatest moments on this trip.
Today we had a once in a lifetime experience conquering the Great Wall of China. I arrived anxious and excited for the climb, ready to finally become a true hero. To begin our hike we had to take cable cars. These were not your typical cable car. No windows, no doors they were just like your whitetail ski lift. I wait in line with the rest of my trip mates and feel as though I’m about to ride a rollercoaster. The line was separated with those familiar red bars at Kings Dominion. The workers loudly tell us to put our bags in front and to get ready. The lift inches around the rail slowing down just enough for us to scoop us into suspension. Sophia and I ascend into the air clutching our belongings tightly. The slow pace of the cable car allows us to absord the nature and structure around us. The fear and trembling only lasted a few moments. When I looked towards the horizon everything I was afraid of disappeared. I only saw the Beauty of the ginormous trees and the joy of the adrenaline filled tabogeners. Each moment I focused on the sky and the landscape around me I wanted to take a snap shot of what my eyes could see, so I could never forget how free I felt in that moment. I carefully unzipped my front pocket grabbed my phone and terror set in. I’m now realizing that I could drop my phone hundreds of feet. Screaming ahh every time I removed my phone from its safe pocket. After I finally put my phone away I enjoyed the view once again. Me and Sophia exchanged a lot of “oh my gods” and other choice words whenever we looked down. My feet touch the ground once again and I am filled with relief and awe. Now it was on to the wall. There are two paths that you can chose from the “easy”or the “hard” path. Our guide recommended we go left and take the side that was not as steep. The majority of the group decided they wanted the challenge and took the steep side. Personally I wanted to enjoy my hike and be able to complete the climb. Sophia and I turned left and trekked onward and upward. I currently have a plethora of photos from the multiple photo shoots we took on the way up. We spent our time bonding with strangers, sharing laughs, panting in unison, and photo bombing many random pictures. The view was breathtaking and so worthwhile. I’m glad we took our own path and bonded and enjoyed our own company. I didn’t have to worry about my competitive attitude getting in the way of my absorption of the historical phenomena that is the Great Wall. Hot, sweaty, and ready to go home we enjoyed tobogganing down the mountain. Leaning side to side, breaking and accelerating throughout the course I sped down the mountain. The adrenaline and rush was truly cathartic. After a long day of fun activities we all got on our tour bus ready for our next adventure in Xi’an.