Teyauna grasped my hand a little tighter as another group of local tourists pushed past us on their flight up the ancient steps. We had been hiking for half an hour and I was more out of breath than she was. I had expected the steps to the Great Wall of China to be steep but I thought I was in better shape than my five year old girl. With blonde hair and orange hoody Teyauna stood out like a flower among all the black coated climbers. Every ten steps or so some Chinese tourist would pull Teyauna aside and insist on taking a picture with her and me. At first I was happy for an excuse for a break but soon we were making traffic jams on the steps as more and more men and woman would join the group and insist they too be allowed a photo. When Alyssa is around it is usually her that causes all the stir. I realized we were going to have to put an end to the happy photo taking party. I smiled brightly and gave a few bows while pulling Teyauna with me back up on our way. The further we ascended the steeper and less crowed it became and I began looking for resting spots every ten minutes. Teyauna saw my pattern and would literally run up the steps and then sit patiently waiting for me. She and I would then take a few minutes to look at the view and see if we could spot a toy train rumbling through a tunnel deep in the valley below. Cold air swirled in tight circles around us causing my girl to snuggle closer. I wanted this moment to last longer than these ancient ruins. This feeling like she and I are in perfect harmony.
Unimaginable history had taken place here. Wars had been fought over the rights to this land and countless people died in the building of this structure. As the sun was shrouded in smog the wind seemed to rule the air. I wondered what ghosts wandered through these mountain tops. An hour later we finally met up with the rest of the family who had gone on before us. Legs burning and most of us still catching our breath we stood together on those ancient steps. Gazing at the mountains that had supplied the stone for this great protecting wall was a dream come true for us. We waited for another traveler to arrive and we exchanged cameras as he got a picture of our whole group. Soon our sweat would turn to ice so we knew it was time to descend back to the busy tourist town below. One by one we made our way down. I took it easy as to be gentle on my knees and it took 30 min. to climb all the way down this time with Eli as my partner. Jaeden on the other hand ran the entire way and it took him 8 minutes to make it back to the warm van below.