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My Great Adventure with Murphy's Law (II)

By Catherine E. Wood
China.org.cn staff reporter

We finally made it to The Great Wall, despite all of the problems we faced along the way.

We finally made it to The Great Wall, despite all of the problems we faced along the way.

That is, until we hit traffic again…gridlock. A measly seven km from the Wall, there I was, dead stopped. I could see my prize out of the left window, majestically sitting on the mountain, taunting me with how close it was, I was heartbroken. It was getting late, and beginning to rain, we had to face the very real possibility that there would be no hiking at all today and our journey would be for nothing. "There is no space in the parking lot, too many cars. This is not normal, I have never seen this," the driver explained to us. So, we sat, we sat and we prayed for a miracle, but all the while Murphy's Law was simply laughing in jest at us, it just wasn't meant to be.


After a brief discussion about logistics William and I decided to cut our losses, we were going to head back to Beijing, realistically what choice did we have in the matter? The Wall was so close I could see it, but that was as close as I was going to get. The boys were all staying in a hotel close by and since we had to ride with them, we pulled a three-point-turn, mid-highway, and headed in the opposite direction. The rain was softly falling on the windshield by this point in a rhythmic pattern that seemed to suggest: I told you so, from some place beyond my earthly control.


We were heading toward Jinshanling and another shot at the wall, though by now it was almost 2 pm and we were unsure if we could even afford the time, much less the weather. Looking out of my window, I saw the watch towers of the Wall stream past as the surrounding green fell into a blur, I was wondering if I would ever be able to hike it. The rain seemed to slow as he hit the highway, though it could have been attributed to nothing more than my wishful thinking. After everyone exchanged their comments and disappointment about how the day turned out, we pulled into a side road and ended up in a parking lot. We were here, decision time. William and I had to choose whether or not to hike this new section of the Wall and risk more rain and missing the last bus back; there was just something tugging in my heart, I needed to be on this wall, we decided to risk it.


Although we knew our time was limited, we each paid the 50RMB admission ticket and strolled past the several souvenir stands selling rice patty hats and bottles of water. The incline came fast, we soon found ourselves hiking upward and upward still, but amidst a treasure trove of flowers. It seemed like we had stumbled more into a veritable secret garden for just the two of us, there were no other people in sight. A myriad of pinks, purples, and yellows consumed us on our journey upward. The stairs began to give us a sneak peek of what was to come, we earned every step upward, and just when it was time to stop and rest, a clearing showed itself: we were at the top.


The lush garden gave way to vast views of the Chinese countryside, so pristine and untouched. It seemed like we could see out into forever, and the great back of the snaking Wall showed us the way. The rain began to break and not a soul was in sight. Our journey had begun.


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