Trailing the Great Wall 长城!

Climbing China’s Great Wall (长城) is both a exceptional and extraordinary experience; having done it twice within 24 hours is seemingly unheard of, and I am glad to say that I’ve done it. Trailing up and down the undulating path was breathtaking, yet it kept me eager to see what more the Wall had to offer me. On the hand, straddling the Wall’s dips and nooks along the edge gave me time to be pensive, which made me nostalgic of my hiking days on the beaten Andean paths to Macchu Pichu in Perú. I remember descending the Wall with Fuji and Justin and I immediately flashbacked to a specific moment to my Incan Trail experience. Climbing the Great Wall was the connecting point – the moment of overlap – that united my Peruvian and Chinese experiences.

I started to notice the similarities as soon as I began to loose buttons. For me, the loss of those buttons, the degradation of my prized and coveted pea coat, made me barren to the elements. Quite frankly, I was not expecting to sweat while climbing and still freeze while I remained idle. Truth be told, trailing up this massive construction in the dead of winter was just as miserable, as well as enticing as the Incan Trail. I honestly feel that up until the point, China has been a cakewalk compared to all of the hiking I’ve endured due to the Peruvian unforgiving terrain. Thus, I love seeing the overlap between the two unique experiences. I’ve been unjustly comparing the two experiences for some time, but the Great Wall finally gave me the excuse I needed.

The greatest link, as I mentioned earlier, was my hike down of the Great Wall with Fuji and Justin. It was so reminiscent of the day that President Quillen and I walked down the hills of the Peruvian salt flats. We talked about everything from the mundane to extreme topics in Marxism (which I couldn’t fully grasp). However, it was really a moment to connect to my social and intellectual superior. I felt a similar bonding experience with Fuji, who (I feel) that many ca attest to the fact that he is somewhat absentee… Nevertheless, both of these are key moments that added sustenance to my traveling experiences – humanizing the distant Davidson intellectuals. They alike have given me something to look forward to when I return to Davidson that I thought never existed before I left.

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