Since learning about the Great Wall of China (or in china they call it the very long wall) in elementary school I wanted to see it for myself. Then after marrying Blake, and talking a lot about travel and the places we want to see, China was a big one for him. We decided that we would make the trip some time before we died. However we never knew that we would have the opportunity so early in life. Because the Great Wall was a must see on this trip, we woke up at the break of dawn with only snickers for breakfast to catch the first bus there. That day was blistering cold, the coldest we have even been in our lives. But the sky was clear and the crowds were minimal, which was really important to us (have you seen pictures of the wall in the summer?).
There are many parts of the wall you can go to, we visited the Mutianyu part of the wall. There we had to take a cable car to the top, once there we could choose between two different paths, a steep up hill climb or an easier walk way. Of course we choose the up hill path, the steep steps helped warm us up. It is just impressive how people could have built such a massive structure with no machinery. We walked a good ways, passed some "walk no further" signs and got to a peak of a hill on a part of un-restored wall. It was overgrown with trees and other vegetation which made it feel rustic. From there we could see parts of the wall extending through the mountains in three direction.
Because we wanted to make sure to experience everything while at the great wall, after walking down all the steps we had just climbed (I quote Blake, "PLEASE, I BEG YOU, NO MORE STEPS"), we started on the easier walk way. There the sun was shining and it even became warm enough to take off some layers. On this path instead of stairs there was slick stone from visitors and a lot more tourist. One thing we were not expecting was the slide to get down from the wall. The slide zigzags for almost a mile bringing you the 328ft from the top of the wall to the bottom. We each got a little toboggan with a brake lever, you could really pick up some speed on those things. It was an adrenalin rush. I could go back just to ride it again.