I’m guessing future MURP interns are one of this blog’s primary audiences, so I thought I’d pass on some travel advice. Hat tip to Nick for knowing about this place, and it also got a thumbs up from Hannah earlier this year.
Great Wall Fresh is a guesthouse in a tiny village in the shadow of the Great Wall. The Chen family is incredibly nice, the food is delicious, and the hiking is first rate. My husband Eli and I spent the last three days there and highly recommend it.
We did the two challenging hikes and each took about 6 hours with plenty of breaks. If you only have time for one of the demanding ones I’d recommend the Hunchback Curve. The views from the High Tower hike were amazing, but the wall is in much better shape on the Hunchback section. A part of it is even restored and they were working on it when we were up there, so chances are good even more will be restored in a year or two.
It is a lot of scrambling up and down mountains, and parts are slow going because you’re climbing through rubble. But you’ll likely have the whole thing to yourself, and the surrounding valleys and forests are beautiful.
Below are a few photos from the High Tower hike. Getting up there was a little rough, the trail was not well-maintained in spots so it required some bushwhacking, but once you’re up there it definitely feels like the top of the world. And there’s a wind farm down there!
Back at the house you definitely get a feel for rural country life. The food was really good and they keep the fridge stocked with beer. We ate dinner in the courtyard and watched the sunset over the wall, and got a hot breakfast before hiking each morning.
If you want to see the Great Wall and aren’t into the tourist scene, this is the place.