You know, it's one of those things that's on everybody's list of things to do before we die. Well, one subdued morning early in June of 2007, members of our program found ourselves trudging up to a renovated Mutianyu Pass (慕田峪) on the Great Wall (長城). Mutianyu Pass is the highest elevation of the Great Wall within the boundaries of Beijing Municipality, and is far less touristy than the better known Badaling Pass (八達領), which even has a highway named after it. In fact, the chartered bus to Mutianyu was on the Badaling Highway for most of the journey.
Mutianyu's status as less of a tourist focus is evidenced by the interesting English at the ticket office.
Organizing a large group is pretty hard, so while we were waiting around ...
... some, like Rob, decided to start shopping.
At the start of the climb, it was easier to make fun about "mounting" the Great Wall.
It didn't take long before we were feeling pretty hot and sweaty.
Finally, we reached the wall ...
... but there was still a ways to go to get to the westernmost end of the renovated section of Mutianyu Pass.
Along the way, before we started climbing the really steep towers, Erica decided to demonstrate another use for the arrow holes.
A few of us decided after a while that since we couldn't see any higher points on the Great Wall, this high tower would be the last one we would climb.
Although looking westward had been intimidating because of the heights, looking eastward was calming, and impressive in that we finally saw all that we had scaled.
Looking back westward once more, we saw one of the cable ways that could have ferried us up to the Great Wall. But that would've been cheating.
As we took a snack break on the way back toward the eastern portion of Mutianyu Pass, Paul left his mark on China.
Getting down from the Great Wall was made considerably easier by a toboggan.
I captured two video clips of what we law students spent our entire time in line referring to as a tort liability just waiting to happen. Fortunately for the more adventuresome among us, tort law is not well developed in China.
At the bottom of the run were these two fellows. They charged me ¥20 for this picture. I hope to get my money's worth by posting it here.
Ted and Emil bought these hats before the climb; now that the climb was over, Sara and I decided to take the opportunity to pose with the hats before Ted and Emil could really object.
Here's a brief clip of what the countryside between the city proper and the Great Wall looks like, as we came back to the city from the Great Wall.