The Greatest Wall

Masks on, polluted smoggy air, sun shining through and one big wall to climb. As we arrived to the base of the wall, all I could do was look up and breathe. One of the 7 wonders of the whole world right in front of me. I heard once that it takes 40 minutes for a professional hiker to hike the wall, so my goal was just around that time right? Well I began walking up – I mean walking vertically up stairs the size of my calf. I took my mask off because it was too hard to breathe and the air became fresher. I made it to the first small building, a place to rest the knees and up and up again. There were different sized steps and we peeked through the windows of different shapes and sizes with the views of mountains that looked like they went on forever and the wall that wrapped around each mountain. Up and up the stairs and then a steep ramp. I stopped to look through the windows and then the wall and mountains that encapsulated me. One more big flight of thick stairs and I’m at the top. The top of the Great Wall of China. The pathway opens up wider and the last building. We high fived the wall, thanked it and then thought, “what has nobody done at the top before?” Or “we don’t know exactly what anyone has done” so Alyssa and I rolled down the stairs at the top. Every roll felt like we were falling off the wall into the abyss of mountains. -Sofie Brandt

Today we visited The Great Wall of China. I never anticipated that my experience there would be one that will forever hold a place in my heart. When we arrived, our group was awed by the breathtaking view and of course the wall that stretched as far as the eye could see. Our tour guide, Lin, told us that we would have the opportunity to climb up the steepest part of the wall, and that we would have three hours before we had to return to the coffee shop at the bottom. I had anticipated that the walk, or climb, as it turned out to be, would be leisurely— boy was I wrong. Every step of the wall differed in steepness which forced you to focus on walking only rather than the impeccable view. By the eighth gate I was completely winded, my calves were on fire, and I was about to give up. However, my friends pushed me to continue and we all eventually made it to the twelfth gate, the last gate, which was thousands of feet high in altitude. Standing at the top provoked so many powerful emotions and instigated a feeling of zen that was unlike no other— my stress, fears, and worries dissipated. The feeling of conquering only a section of The Great Wall was incredible and I am so grateful to have had that experience. So excited for the rest of our endeavors! -Caroline Palmer

1 thought on “The Greatest Wall

  1. huáng lǎo shī 黄老师

    It takes a tough person to climb the Great Wall. You are all very awesome. I solute you!

    Have you noticed the steepness outside of the Wall? That surely made it much more difficult for the outsider to attack. I applaud and solute the person/people who picked the location to build the wall, GENIUS. And as you all experienced, the inside is also steep and long. Imagine the engineering, the wisdom, the human resources, the mighty power of the emperor, it is really astonishing, amazing and fascinating.

    In addition, I love the reflections you wrote. They are all so in-depth and detailed. Reading them makes me want to go again. You actually learn more than you expect to learn before the trip. Congratulations!!!

    Reply

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