Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Great Wall

Lets get this started on the right foot...

I'll teach those kids a thing or two...

Ok now thats out of the way, I can continue my epic adventure story (By the way, epic is my recent favorite word. Yesterday, I ate some epic dumplings).

So we got out of the wild, and onto the wall. I was pouring sweat already, as it was hot as the dickens (which I hear is pretty darn hot). I used the Dad turban trick and confused the local Chinese folks into thinking I was some sort of Chinese-Muslim-American hybrid with my red-star shirt, turban, and rugged, old-fashioned American good looks. Of course, there does seem to be a big Muslim population in China, so maybe its not too far-fetched.

"Derka Derka Derka"

The view from this point was instantly amazing. The wall was unlike I had imagined it, as I said before. It was quite narrow, there were whole sections missing, alot of it seemed to disintegrate underneath foot and hand. In the distance, there were other people climbing the wall. It looked like they were having a wonderful time, so we set off in that direction. Katie stayed behind, but Laura, Cory, and I set forth determined to make it up to the summit that was in our immediate view.

You can't see the summit from this shot, but it was coo

Close to where we started out, there was a point in which the wall had crumbled into a pile of debris (not while we were there, fortunately). This was the first major obstacle we faced. It wasn't really that bad, but considering the fact that I had decided to lug my camera around for the sake of capturing this wonderous moment, it made it hard. But thats how I do things. I like to make even the simplest thing as difficult as possible. So I started free-climbing the first part. Left arm, put camera down, right arm, pick up camera, left arm, etc. I moved in threes like that all the way up the wall. It was dusty, precarious, and maybe a little dangerous. But damnit, I was going to get a picture from up top.

This is steep, trust me.

I was being so careful with my camera. I was almost certain that "Climbing the Great Wall of China" was in the list of things for which Best Buy will void your warranty. That little fella was a trooper too. Getting little bits of dust and pebbles kicked on him and whatnot. I was so proud. The further we went, the more ominous the looks on peoples' faces were coming from the direction we were going. One person proclaimed sincerely, "There is a big challenge ahead". I thought it was just a cute slight Chinese skewing of the English language. I'm pretty sure he ment it though.

Masked by an expression of delight, an overwhelming sense of terror washed over Drew...

I was getting what I hoped for: Some very neat pictures from a very high angle. I could see Katie far below. The perspective was overwhelming. I'm sorry Grandfather Mountain, but this area has your mile-high bridge for breakfast.

In the mist, in the very far right-hand side of this picture, you can see our future campsite. And the little jut-out section of the wall about 1/4th the way up the photo is where we first started the ascent.


Finally, we made it to the peak. It was an amazing sight. Although heights bug the crap out of me, it was worth the trembling, the terror, the wanton camera abuse, and the tearing of my jeans at the ankle.

"Yee haw"

So after achieveing enlightenment via oxygen deprivation at the summit, we began our descent. It wasn't nearly as scary as I was dreading it would be.


We met up with Katie and continued hiking.

I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I'm going to leave the rest for tomorrow. I can't believe this freaking story is taking me three posts to do, but I've been working on this one for an hour. I have to trudge through painfully slow DSL. Oh well, I can't complain I guess. You aren't allowed to complain here.

More soon. I promise it will be soon.


Anonymous said...

Now this makes since to me, climbing some insanely huge mountain covered in deep deep snow and hauling tons of equipment, well just let me say, there is something wrong with someone who wants to suffer like that. I don't doubt you suffered somewhat, but at least you still have a nose. And from the pictures it looks like your summit was without a doubt, breathtaking. It looks and sounds like you are having a wonderful and life altering experience. I'm so happy for you that this dream is now a reality.

Drew said...

I know, this definately wasn't Everest by any stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous said...

I would have heaved myself up there, been all happy. Then realized I don't own a camera, or a pencil or something to even draw it out with. Then I'd cry. It's a good thing you didn't fall Finney, I might have wanted your gold.

James said...

Yeah, that was Val by the way. Not Anonymous.

Bob said...

Glad you're having a good time up in this piece, Drew. Thanks for hitting my place with a comment. Back at you...

See you at schoo...

Anonymous said...

Nope thats it. Im done reading. I cant handle waiting like this for the installment of wall. Its like watching Lost. Just when you think your getting somewhere with the plot you go and tell us all to tune in next time. Nope, not any more.

Drew said...

Luke, did anyone ever tell you that you're a funny guy?

You're a funny guy, Luke.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Your funny too.

Lauren said...

Wow - amazing pictures. I'm very much looking forward to more of them! Glad to see you're both still alive and having fun (:

Anonymous said...

Real Pete sent me your blog. Looks and reads like you are having a real adventure.We started our climbing class Sat. Looks like we have a pretty good class. Later
Fake Pete Gilbert
Mon 09/25

Anonymous said...

Hey Drew, this is Jason. I'm really enjoying your blog! Looks like you're having an “epic” experience! Ooo, doggin’ on g-father! My question: Can I ride my BIKE up the great wall? I'm ready to do something different with my life and you're inspiring me! Have Luke & Laura threatened to come visit ‘ya? Man, I'll come – and my threats aren’t idle – I'll do it too!

Celera said...

Wow, this looks so great. I'm taping these pictures up in my car for when I'm thinking up excuses to not go to the gym (which is always.) I still want to see the world, and apparently some of it will require more effort than the pubs in London.

I'm glad you are getting to do some stuff besides teaching, although I'm sure that is quite an experience in itself.

Drew said...

Gah, I finally was able to log back in. Thanks for the comments everyone.

Jason - I know your threats aren't empty, and you're more than welcome to come out here to visit! You'd get a full dose of the stares, being all tall, white, and red-haired. Its a unique feeling. By the way, you CAN ride your bike on the wall. I saw one hardcore fella in particular hiking his bike up the mountain. And that feat has "Jason" written all over it.

Pete - Hey! How's it going, man? Awesome to hear from you. Thanks for reading! Glad to hear climbing class is going to be good, Dad said the same thing.

Cel - I'm glad I could help, hehe. I actually have to climb the great wall, to realize I'm out of shape, to motivate me to go to the gym. I guess my motivation to go to the gym is time-consuming, pricey, and impractical.