Supported by a walking aid and wrapped in a raincoat, Taylor Walker-Lear took another break during her hike on the Great Wall and peered at the amazing view through one of its dented parts.
“Is it worth it?” Taylor’s mother Toni Elford asked her. “Yeah, it is,” Taylor replied without hesitation.
For this 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, June 6 was the day she had been eagerly looking forward to for more than a year. In March 2016, Taylor and her family climbed to the summit of the highest mountain in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko. When her mother asked about her next goal, she said: “Mount Everest might be a little too hard right now, but maybe the Great Wall.”
On Tuesday, with the help of her walking aid, the support of her parents and sponsor, and accompanied by a group of primary school volunteers from Beijing, Taylor realized her Chinese dream by successfully climbing the Mutianyu Great Wall despite the rainy and chilly weather.
Walking on the wall might sound like an easy feat for some, but for Taylor, it’s much more difficult. Step by step, she moved forward slowly yet steadily, with incredible strength and determination for a girl of her age and condition. Whenever she encountered steep stairs, her parents lifted her and held her, encouraging her to keep going.
A Little Aussie Girl’s Chinese Dream
Taylor’s journey started near Watch Tower No. 14, somewhere in the middle of the Mutianyu Great Wall, a part that was built by General Xu Da in the early Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago. It was mainly used for military defense.
During her short stay in the dim and cramped tower, Taylor attentively listened to the guide, trying to learn more about the profound history of the Great Wall. From a little window, Taylor popped out her head to take in the magnificent view.
“It’s different than I expected, different in a good way,” Taylor told Xinhua. “It’s amazingly beautiful.”
There is something about China that attracts Taylor, even though she can’t exactly say what it is. “It’s a magical appeal,” Taylor’s father Simon said.