We got up in Jiayuguan (嘉峪關) excited for our day of adventures. There were three major sites waiting for us that day. The first was Jiayuguan Pass (嘉峪關關城), noted as the first pass on the west end of the Great Wall. It is also the last pass people would see after getting banished to the west. Legend has it that it was so meticulously planned that the government official in charge demanded the designer to itemized all the materials he would need down to the last brick. After the architect provided the general with a number, he asked if the architect was sure. To humor the general, he added one brick to his estimate. When the pass was finished, there was indeed one brick left. The architect told the general to use it as a door stopper. To this day, there is one loose brick at Jiayuguan Pass.
Below: Quatchi and Kel at Jiayuguan Pass
Below: One of the towers at the end of the pass.
We spent the majority of our morning at Jiayuguan Pass before heading to an early lunch.
After, we headed to what is known as The First Pillar (天下第一墩). It is the most western end of what was the Great Wall. It served as a natural ending as it ended in a gorge with a river going through it. There was a military outpost on the other side of the gorge, which could be reached by a suspension bridge. For tourism purposes, they've installed another way to cross over: a zipline! We debated for a little bit whether we wanted to ride the zipline across. The fee for it was minimal, but this is China afterall. Did we trust their safety precautions? We finally decided that we were likely never to come back so, might as well!
You can see the suspension bridge over the gorge.
A close up of the military outpost.
The view of the gorge from a glass platform built out from the higher end.
Kelly on the zipline, ready to launch!
Me flying across the zipline arms out, laughing all the way down. You can vaguely see Annie on the corner of the platform taking pictures.
Annie riding across, screaming.
What we found on the other side was some old buildings, wheelbarrow and such.
The entrance to the suspension bridge to get back to the other side.
The girls on the suspension bridge. We thought Annie would be more scared, and we tried to get her more scared by jumping and shaking the bridge, but she wasn't fazed one bit.
On the other side, there was a military camp of sorts. We had fun playing around on the strategic training posts for a bit.
Next, we went to walk a part of the Great Wall (懸臂長城) that was still intact in Jiayuguan. When we got there, a lady shepherd was leading a flock of sheep, so of course, we had to take some pictures! The hike up to the top of the tower was quite enduring as the steps would be quite uneven at times and much higher than what we were used to. The view at the top however, was quite worth it, and hiking down was even more of an adventure as the path was mountainside with no rails for safety. We were quite tired after all this and decided to call it a day with an early dinner and rest up for the next day.
Below Left: Flora and Annie walking up to the tower.
Below Right: A garbage can we found in the tower at the top and couldn't help but take a picture of the yellow "garbage" symbol. Apparently, "non-recyclables" are denoted by turning all the arrows of the recycle sign outwards!