Wanderlust: Great Wall of China

I think it goes without saying that The Great Wall is in fact, very great, and very large. You can get on to the Great Wall pretty close to Beijing (considering how large China is) but it's FILLED with tourists. Jam packed like sardines. That's not really my style and I already had fought a lot of crowds earlier in the week so my friends recommended doing a hike with the Beijing Hikers company because you go further away from all the tourist areas and are alone on the wall with your tour group, which for me was only about 20 people.

The Great Wall is beyond words. I mean it really is. I'm going to try to describe it here for you, but pictures and words are not really going to fully capture it's astounding nature. First off, the wall is built on the tops of mountains so to get up to the top you are essentially hiking vertically for a couple hours. It might seam like a "winding" hike when you look at the pictures below, but my lungs and I will assure you that it is in fact straight vertical and if I could have crawled up I would have. (In other news, I should probably exercise more!)

Once you get to the top, the views are just insane if you are lucky enough to have a clear day like we did. Every direction you look is just miles and miles of walls extending around you. It's old and crumbling and there are trees sand plants growing out of the path in every direction. And you're walking on it. The piece of wall we hiked was completed in 1580 AD, as it took a couple hundred years to finish. Even though the age and condition are impressive, the actual construction is astounding. To think of people having to hike up what I hiked carrying bricks and stones on their back and then build in all weather and conditions (it was 85 and blazing sun for us!) is beyond me. And the wall is so big they aren't even sure of the size. Different measurement estimates put it between 4,000-5,000 miles long. That means people built 5,000 miles of wall. On top of mountains. By hand. For thousands of years. Mind blown.