The next part of our journey was almost more than I could bear. As we turned the corner, I was sickened to discover a perilous walk across the cliff. There in front of me were nearly two hundred feet of wooden planks jutting out from the side of the cliff. Nor was it a straight line - the damn thing turned a corner!
Yes, there were chains to hang onto, but there was ice and there was wind and the margin for error was very small. Those planks could not have been more than two feet wide. Exposed to the elements, I wondered just how safe they were. (Note: This ramp had a name: Floating-in-Air Road. But I called it Boardwalk)
The only reason we continued was those Chinese college kids. Laura and I watched them cross. It looked like they were dancing... step apart, step together, step apart, step together... they walked sideways across the cliff! And they were laughing!
I swear to God if it wasn't for those kids, Laura and I would have turned around a long time ago. Left to ourselves, we would have given into our panic, but to see those crazy kids fearlessly move across the cliff made us think we could do it too.
Laura and I gave each other the "what are we getting ourselves into this time?" look. I grabbed the chain, made sure not to look down, and did my step-together-step across the face of the rock.
I kept telling myself if they can do it, I can do it. Nevertheless, I nearly slipped one time. Normally I never actually picked up my feet, but there were places where the new set of boards didn't match the set I was standing on. Since I didn't dare look, when I switched to a new board, each step was an adventure.
As I took a step to the new board, my foot didn't hit the board right and my heel slipped on the edge of the board. I had only my left leg for support. I gripped tightly to the chain and regained my balance. Laura, bless her heart, didn't see it. She had enough problems of her own.
A panic attack immediately kicked in. I could feel my knees shaking. I was scared to death to take another step. I just stood there and breathed a while. Laura asked me if I was okay. That broke the ice. I decided I hadn't come nearly as close to dying as I first thought. So I nodded I was OK and started moving.
Soon I actually managed a laugh of my own. I found a spot on the rock smeared with lipstick. I suppose one of the Chinese girls had pressed her face so close to the wall, she kissed the rock.
You might not suffer from vertigo. On the other hand, you well may develop a case of it reading this harrowing account of these hiking trails up some mountains in central China. Methinks there's a serious shortage of personal-injury lawyers there.
So let's send 'em some.
Via The Presurfer