Endurance -Achieve your goals & dreams

Part of being an expat has offered us a great opportunity to travel. The world became smaller. Things that most people dream of are just around the corner, in our backyard or a short trip away. We have been lucky enough to see the Great Wall of China. My first visit was with a tour group, so the time was limited. I wished to get up these steep steps, but managed barely half way before the time forced me back. My goal, if I ever returned, was to get further. I really wanted to reach the top of those steps and the end of the restored section of the wall where some of the great monument lay crumbling from countless footsteps and hundreds of years.

This past summer we were able to return. Here is the starting point around gate 13 at the Mutianyu section of the wall. Goal in sight we started off.

Just after the cable car the start of the wall... go as far as you dare.

Just after the cable car the start of the wall… go as far as you dare.


Around gate 19 or 20 we can see the steepest section ahead.

Warning steep climb ahead

Warning steep climb ahead

The top! The day was glorious with clear blue skies and we could see further in the distance than our last trip to the wall. The wall snaked and turned over the green hills into the distance. August can be quite hot and humid, but today was reasonable. Once we started the climb I was sweating quite a lot. My legs began to shake and I wasn’t sure if I could make it. I had just recovered from a bad virus that sapped all my energy and strength and I was still not 100%. Throw in a touch of jet lag and a busy travel schedule to top it off. Later I would discover I was sick again and in 2 days time the same or similar virus returned and I was in bed. I was determined. I stopped regularly and took in the view while I rested. I drank lots of water and pushed on.

Reward... a view like this!

Reward… a view like this!

Look at the rocks to the left then look at the first picture. That will give you perspective how FAR we went.

Look at the rocks to the left then look at the first picture. That will give you perspective how FAR we went.

My endurance paid off and I made it to the top of the steps and past the final gate #23 open to tourists. We went to 24, but just couldn’t make the next steep climb on unsecured steps to #25. Maybe next time. Sometimes it is best to leave some travel dreams ‘undone’ so you have the desire to return.


We started at the star… gate13. We went right to the end of the map (left side) #24. Approx. 5km one way and hundreds of steps.

Have you ever pushed yourself even when your body and mind said “I can’t”? Tell me about it in the comment section, or join Word Press this week for their photo challenge Endurance.

Sorry I am still not into my regular routine and I post when I can. Please stay tuned…


Categories: Chinese Adventures, History, Photography, teaching overseas, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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44 thoughts on “Endurance -Achieve your goals & dreams

  1. Freda Goulet

    I don’t think I have ever pushed myself to the extent that you did in climbing those last steep steps of the Wall. When I was much younger I climbed Franey, the mountain that surrounds Ingonish, and thought that was quite a feat…and it was for me!! Great post Diana. I felt as if I were climbing along with you. Hope you are feeling much better by now.

    • Thanks… I thought I would be really sore the next day, but was even prouder that I wasn’t. I didn’t feel great, but really wanted to keep going since I didn’t know if I would make it there again. I don’t think I have fully recovered since the bug this summer, or I am just getting everything going. A tummy bug is going around now and I am fighting that. Soon we have a holiday and I will enjoy (and need) the rest.
      I think we sometimes compare ourselves and think someone else did something bigger and better, but if it was a goal and we reached it… well then isn’t that success?

  2. Well done, it looks a beast of a climb, but worth it!

    • The steps were steep, short in height and uneven. Someone painted every hundred and I stopped checking after 400. I just kept thinking I can do it and pushed on. The numbers made it worse πŸ˜‰ The view from the top was worth it. Seeing those stones that were in a distance at the start were level with our climb to the top and I was proud I made it that far and realised what a personal feat I accomplished.
      Thanks for stopping by Gilly.

  3. I didn’t think I’d make it when we were on our first leg to hike around the Lake Waikaremoana, one of the great walks in NZ. I couldn’t believe how tired I became, legs just trembling at the end, even though the first days hike was only maybe 7 kms. But it was all uphill, in many points so steep that I had to use my hands to pull myself up the “step”, and as we where camping I was of course carrying my backpack too. But it was definitively worth it, the views were stunning and the next legs where longer but felt a lot easier as they were less steep. And after making it, it did give me self esteem to know that I can push myself when needed. By the sound of it, that will be needed if I ever get to the great wall, as I too, like you, want to go as far as possible then!

    • Some places of the wall are steeper than others. You don’t have to go that high and most don’t. As you say when you accomplish something hard you are not only proud of yourself, but awarded with great views.
      Thanks for the visit and sharing.

  4. Take good care! You were brave and strong enough to endure this adventure. Next time, after getting to 100% I’m sure you’ll be pleased with that progress as well. This would be so amazing to see! I don’t know that I can say I’ve endured anything so strenuous. I need to get a life! LOL. Be well, CTB.

    • Thanks… I have been healthy for most of 2014 til summer. Since I have been fighting lots of little bugs. Price to pay working with little ones. I was proud of accomplishment and reached my goal. There is always more to do, but I know that there may always be a next time πŸ˜‰
      Maybe you haven’t climbed the wall, but I am sure you have lived and done lots of cool things too. πŸ™‚

      • Cool? Ok. Maybe. πŸ˜‰
        I know what you mean about the little ones and bugs. Been healthier since I retired. LOL

        • Here the cleaners wipe tables and chairs twice a day and that helps. I am sure I could be sick a lot more. My little ones this year are ‘mouthy’ they love to lick themselves and eat stones… it is more like a class of puppies some days πŸ˜‰

  5. We also saw just a small section on our visit – I’m impressed with your effort! The steep section definitely looks it. Good to have a goal to return for, though.

  6. This was terrific, CTB. I enjoyed the photos and your tale of endurance. I’ve been to China three times now but have never made it to the Great Wall. This has to change!!

  7. =D I’m so glad your visit was with clear weather this time!!! I knew you could do this. You’ve always been one of the strongest, most determine people I know!

  8. It take tremendous endurance to accomplish what you did, CT!!

  9. Wow, I always wondered how you get on the wall and how far you can go! And you told and shown more! Well done!

    • Thanks Chris. There are many places to see the wall. We liked this one since it was a little further out and less busy. A good section is restored, but not all, so best of both worlds if you dare to go that far. Since I was there a year ago they tore down all the little rustic maze of shops and made a nice modern parking area, visitor centre and shops. Very nice, but lost a little of the charm. It is getting more touristy like the Badaling section. Due to increasing numbers of tourists they needed to make improvements.
      Thanks for stopping by

  10. Well done on achieving your goal! There are some places I’m determined to see again so I can do some of the things I missed. Your pictures are beautiful… πŸ™‚

  11. I didn’t get to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall but I heard it is one of the better sections to visit.

  12. We also went to Mutiyanu when we visited the Wall, and those hills were steep! I was definitely panting and suffering trying to get up them.. I can’t believe you managed it in the heat AND while you were sick! πŸ™‚ Did you take the “luge” back down? That was so much fun!

    • I would be afraid to luge and luckily ( πŸ˜‰ ) tickets were sold out. It is very steep, but lots of stops and my husband encouraging me I kept going. He did offer to go back, but I pushed on.

      • Oh, things have changed since we visited. When we were there, the luge or the chair down was free, we got to choose which one we wanted to do.

        My husband went tearing down that thing so fast, barely braking with the staff yelling at him at every turn to slow down. I heard him squealing around those corners!!! Hahaha. So completely his personality. I went down with the brake half on the whole time, very cautiously. Lol. Also my personality. I sometimes wonder how we manage to have a successful relationship!! πŸ˜‰

        • That is too funny… and that would be my husband… actually he is! He went last spring (I couldn’t go) and he even did it twice because the first time they got stuck behind a slow poke! We are also opposites, but opposites attract!

  13. CTB – you DID it! you got back to the wall and got some great shots; good for you girl!!! Love that long, long, snaking vista shot!

    • Thanks Tina… the sky was so clear that day I was so happy to get to see so far. We went back because my friend Anita was visiting from home, so it was a must see and do for her.

  14. Cindy Naidoo

    Wow well done!

    • Thank you. It probably only seemed worse since I am a bit out of shape and turned out was fighting a bug as 2 days later I was feverish and slept all day. To have a goal and keep going no matter what the circumstances was a rewarding challenge.
      Thanks for the visit. πŸ™‚

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