The Great Wall

This man-made structure is a perfect example of what humans can do with vision, determination, and teamwork. Climbing those stairs, knowing someone built them and someone else manned them, was very humbling. I felt like anyone who had contributed, even a cook who served a meal to a stone mason, had accomplished more than I had in their lifetime. It was inspiring, majestic, and a real feat of human ingenuity. 

 This is what you see from the parking lot. See those two fortresses? Two of twelve to the top. 

This is what you see from the parking lot. See those two fortresses? Two of twelve to the top. 

 For your edification. 

For your edification. 

 I'm still smiling here. Not for much longer. 

I'm still smiling here. Not for much longer. 

 Up. 

Up. 

 Inside one of the fortresses

Inside one of the fortresses

 Absolute perfection. 

Absolute perfection. 

 Canons to use against the Mongols

Canons to use against the Mongols

 Small but steep stairway to the top of the 12th fortress. We had lunch up there. 

Small but steep stairway to the top of the 12th fortress. We had lunch up there. 

 The steepness cannot be understated. I'd stand at the top and scream, "Jesus, please." 

The steepness cannot be understated. I'd stand at the top and scream, "Jesus, please." 

 Almost at the bottom. 

Almost at the bottom. 

 Looking back up. (Or taking a break because everything hurt. Everything.) 

Looking back up. (Or taking a break because everything hurt. Everything.) 

 Finally. 

Finally. 

 Whew. 

Whew.