[ssba] Climbing the Great Wall of China was definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done. Growing up, you hear about this Great Wall; how long it is, how many people died building it, you see pictures of it. But when you actually climb it, it's a completely different ballgame.
The best decision we made that day was to hike the path less travelled. Ie. Not to do the restored tourist part of the wall but to head a few hours out to experience the "real" wall. So start somewhere with this:
After about an hours hike through a forest to get up to the wall, we finally found it. Now take all your mental images of the wall and throw them out. What we saw was the reality. An ancient wall overgrown with bush and falling apart. There were definitely times when the climb/descents were dangerous, when we questioned if we should continue... But at the end of the day I am so glad we persevered on! The view of China from the peak of the wall is one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. I challenged myself physically far more than I can ever recall. And I loved every minute of it.
And my favourite part, after one especially scary descent down what at the time seemed a never ending vertical rock slide, with nothing to grip on to except for the crumbling wall itself with your hands...