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jw-at-the-pyramidFifty two years ago – August 1971 – I was able to climb the Great Pyramid of Cheops all the way to the top. 450 feet high, 4,000 years old, the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World to still exist, it was my first time in Egypt and I had to give it a go.

Of course, this is illegal. So I waited near sunset and all the tourists had gone, walked around to the northwest corner hidden from most views where there was one lonely guard. I gave him 20 Egyptian pounds which made him very happy, and up I went. Each block at the bottom is about five feet tall and gets smaller as you climb, with over 200 stone layers or “courses” base to apex. The top is flat, about 10-foot square – the limestone casing reaching a point gone long ago.

I was a philosophy doctoral student back then, so I sat down, took out from my daypack Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and read my idol’s wisdom in the light of the setting sun. It was a sunset I’ll never forget, too mesmerized by the moment to take a picture. The photo is of me taken recently where I began my climb of decades ago. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #126 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)