Ok I'm awake and ready to rock. Had an awesome night's sleep, had some vivid and crazy dreams (I always seem to the night after camping somewhere), and I woke up at 7 sans alarm clock. Shao Gao picks us up at 9:15 so I'm going to try to type fast. It might be a two-parter.
We left Beijing early as heck on Saturday morning. We didn't really even have time to eat if we wanted to get some serious exploration in. It didn't really matter though because Cory, Katie, and Laura came very prepared with various food and such. We took a taxi, subway, bus, then van. So it was a long trip. The van ride was pretty hair-raising actually, due to the fact that everyone in China seems to drive like bats out of hell. Worse, blind bats out of hell... who are incredibly impatient. So we took a few questionable turns and eventually made it to some remote looking area in the countryside. I constantly wonder sometimes if cab drivers just drop you off in random places because they are tired of trying to communicate with people who don't speak Chinese. But we were in a place, with Great Walls involved, so it was right enough.
So we started walking in the general direction of the wall. It wasn't your traditional national park, with signs, forest rangers and safety and whatnot. It was just out there. As if it were completely untouched (which it definately wasn't). We walked for awhile, saw and heard bugs I've never seen/heard before. I was definately out of shape, which seems to be a nearly permanent state of being for myself. But I definately had some serious sweat practically blasting out of my pores at break-neck speeds. I'm sure you'd love to see a picture of a sweaty version of me, so here you go. You're welcome.
After climbing for awhile, we eventually get to the point where we could see the wall, and to be honest it was a lot smaller than I expected. I later found out that the wall is various sizes at different places, and I don't blame them for making the wall smaller at this particular location. Its hard as hell to get to. Plus, this wall isn't nearly as restored as the other wall we went to later, which was like a theme park (with chairlifts and tobogan rides and everything, you'll see later). So it was pretty cool to see an overgrown, ruins-like Great Wall. It was pretty hazy that day, so the wall just sort of snaked away into the mist, which was an impressive sight.
So after resting for awhile, Cory and Laura got gung-ho about climbing the steeper side (the one that wasn't toward the way we were planning on descending). I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I didn't go. So we started our ascent...
Did Drew climb the steep part of the wall or did he crumble like a little pansy?! Did Drew set up camp that night and survive without eating Chick-fil-a or Twix candy bars?! Find out, in the next installment of...
THE GREAT WALL!