Journal
DDF 02 - 27 - 2010

At this point in the trip, having a two hour bus ride immediately after breakfast is not something that I take for granted. Being able to get up, eat a buffet breakfast, and then go back to sleep has sadly become somewhat of a luxury. This is especially true when that rest allows us to more fully experience the Great Wall of China. As we arrived at the remote destination to climb a more rigorous part of the wall than is typically climbed by tourists, I could not help but be in awe of the wall. In my amazement, I still had to think to myself that I was only looking at about 1-2 kilometers of the 8000 kilometers that the wall travels. Little did I know what I was about to get myself into. The first couple hills on the wall were quite difficult to navigate, especially with the fresh snow that had just fallen. People were sliding into other people, several people (including myself) almost fell, and others took it extremely slow to make sure that they didnít make any mistakes. We ventured on as a group, eventually stretching out to several minutes apart and met up for lunch at the eleventh tower, one third of the total distance to the end. Overall, we trekked around 14 kilometers total on the day with most of it being steep inclines or declines. Surprisingly, because of the snow, descending the hills was often more difficult than climbing. After lunch, we were surprised, almost shocked, to realize that we were about ready to enter the steep part of the trip. I didnít know that inclines could be any steeper than putting your hands out in front of you and touching the ground where your foot needed to go next, but I was wrong. Also, the steep part of the wall often went without walls on the side so if a person lost their footing, they could easily be off the wall. Lucky for us, the snow hand finally started to melt a little and we gained more traction. We stopped to take several water breaks until we finally made it to the tower where our bus was located. Of course, once we made it to the tower, we had the option to go on another adventure to get to our bus, a zip line across a river. Coming off of my high of climbing the great wall, I thought to myself, ďWhy not?Ē Unfortunately for me, I didnít hear the lady say to grab on to the rope so when Katie and I rode the zip line across the river, I was flailing on my back the whole time trying to stay alive. Of course, there was never any real danger, but it sure felt like there was. It was a fitting end to the most adventurous day on the tour so far.

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