The Great Wall of China is an ancient series of walls and fortifications, totaling more than 13,000 miles in length, located in northern China. Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history, the Great Wall was originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads. The best-known and best-preserved section of the Great Wall was built in the 14th through 17th centuries A.D., during the Ming dynasty. Though the Great Wall never effectively prevented invaders from entering China, it came to function as a powerful symbol of Chinese civilization’s enduring strength.

The panda, with its distinctive black and white coat, is adored by the world and considered a national treasure in China. Pandas live mainly in temperate forests high in the mountains of southwest China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat around 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, depending on what part of the bamboo they are eating. They use their enlarged wrist bones that function as opposable thumbs. A newborn panda is about the size of a stick of butter—about 1/900th the size of its mother—but females can grow up to about 200 pounds, while males can grow up to about 300 pounds as adults. These bears are excellent tree climbers despite their bulk.

“How much longer does this go daddy?” asked Cletus Jr. “Only 13,170 miles son,” I replied. I guess Cletus Jr. thought we were going to actually walk the entire wall! It was such a breathtaking view and we could see that it went on forever! I can’t even imagine 2,000 years of building a wall this size!! We promised Cletus Jr. a walk through a bamboo forest and to our surprise we ran into panda bears!

We met one who was eating breakfast and asked if we’d like some bamboo. Cletus Jr. tried a bite, but didn’t like it too much. He introduced us to his family and we got to hang out with them most of the day….lounging around and eating bamboo. The told us that because bamboo is so low in nutrients, they must eat alot of it! I’ll pass on the bamboo and stick with fish flakes!