Sunday, 14 June 2015

meeting the Wall

Hard to describe the walking - or rather scrambling - along the top of the wall. I knew it would be challenging and much more uneven terrain than the repaired bits you see in tourist photos.  Also knew it went up and down a lot along the summits of a never-ending range of sharp edged and deep-valleyed hills. But was not expecting to clamber over rubble. Or walk across very thin ledges with steep drops to either side. Or negotiating narrow sections and the various scrubby trees and bushes they now support. Or sliding down loose gravel with nothing to hold onto. (All of course, all also either steeply up or steeply down).

And although I had thought about getting fit (and was very happy to keep up with the mainly younger front-runners) for some reason it never quite percolated that walking ton the top of the Great Wall of China involved heights. And that I get vertigo. And worse than I realised.

So pleased someone lent me a walking pole, and really appreciated the willingness of my companions to take it in turns to walk close in front of me on the more terrifying sections, so I could look at their feet rather than over the edge. And turned out to feel like a truly amazing thing to do, exhilarating and meditative all at the same time. 

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