Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Challenge of the Great Wall

View from afar:


The views were sublime.

Inside of one of the guard towers:

Yikes, some parts were steep!

Staring down the zip line:

I'd seen it many times in pictures, film and television. Nothing prepared me for it, especially hiking it (and wondering on some of the 50+ degree slopes that required 2 free hands, 'What was I thinking???')

The sun came out of cloud and haze only this one day of my 3 in Beijing. Because I desired the remotest section of the wall (and therefore the most challenging, excepting those sections that are not maintained at all), I went to the Simatai section of the Wall, about 3 hours outside of Beijing.

Thinking I would hike all the way up and back, at the last minute I decided to take the cable car up to Tower 8. Well, that was a very good decision. From the cable car to Tower 8 was a steep ascent, and it just got steeper. Seeing parts of it made me want to get down to lower ground immediately, but this is the stuff that tests my mettle, so I went for it (coaxing myself each time!)

I got all the way to the place where the wall was no longer maintained, some of it missing thus requiring some light rock-climbing -- Tower 11. Then, I turned around and walked all the way down. With those encountered along the way, nervous laughs, comments and discussion of strategy were exchanged (walk in the middle of the wall! I keep my head down like tunnel vision! down is harder than up! I want to call my mother (one guy's comment to me)!)

And if that was not enough, I took a zip line over a river for the last part of the descent to the parking lot.

It was truly breath-taking, being up there in sun and wind, climbing, gasping (at the angles, height and sublime views!), trudging on, pushing / coaxing / cajoling myself and doing it. At the end, I was covered in sweat.

I felt every-cell alive.

p.s. Pictures are not uploading. I promise to add them -- very soon!


Blogger Charles said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Hey Chris,

I wish I was enjoying this wonderful adventure with you. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Have a nice weekend.

C <:)

3:34 PM  
Blogger christene said...

Hi Charles!

Thanks for your note! I hope you enjoy the slew of photos I just uploaded!

Enjoy the West Indies parade in Brooklyn (which I will miss dearly!)


12:27 PM  

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