This first part of this hike follows a trail that connects two villages. Most trails like this are disappearing because villagers are starting to use gas rather than firewood, and they’re now also able to use cars or public transport to get to the next village instead of having to climb over the hill.
One of the first times we did the High Rise hike we got chatting to one of the old ladies in this first village, after noticing her tiny feet. It turned out that when she was seven her mother had bound her feet, a painful process, following the fashion of the time (which would have been the 1920’s). Apparently, without bound feet, she would have found it difficult to find a husband.
Following a trail out the back of the first village, we’ll hike up a big hill and cross over a ridge at around 800 metres above sea level. Our starting point is at around 300 metres above sea level, so this is a pretty good climb. Your breathtaking climb will be rewarded with breathtaking views.
In these hills it’s said there were gold mines, and some sections of our trail were made for the donkeys that serviced the mines. We don’t expect to see donkeys in the hills, but we’ve seen the tracks of wild pigs. Hopefully we don’t run into any of those!
We’ll skirt around a taller peak in the area, and then head down through terraced chestnut orchards to get to the second village, a tiny settlement of around 10 houses linked to a larger village by a concrete road.
We’ll follow the concrete road down to the largest village in the area, and at the back of that village is a narrow path that runs up through orchards to join the first section of Great Wall that we’ll follow.
On this section of Great Wall, it’s just the climb to the second tower that is a little steep. After that, though, the ups and downs are a little more gradual. The wall follows the ridgeline, allowing views of mountains on one side, and the Longquanyu water canyon on the other. In places, it is overgrown and bushy, sometimes tumbled down.
The Great Wall is often built up and down incredibly steep hillsides; a highlight of this section is a special spot where the wall meets a cliff that forms a natural barrier, the steps of the wall leading up to a sheer cliff. It makes a good spot for a short break, but there’s not much room for sitting. Quite obviously we cannot continue any further, so we’ll backtrack a little and take a hillside detour.
We’ll reach a fork in the dirt path that leads through the orchard, and head down a hill trail that will take us in to the second village, entering on a concrete road not far from a nice little restaurant. They’ve got a friendly old dog, a nice yard, as well as a patio that should get a bit of sun at this time of day. We’ll stop for light snacks and drinks – don’t eat too much! After finishing at the restaurant, we’ve got to walk 2km up the concrete road to get back to the bus!
What to bring on this hike
- Lunch and snacks to eat
- Warm clothes
- Trousers to protect yourself from scratches in bushy areas
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)
Reasons you might not enjoy this hike
- The first half of the hike follows a trail that could be overgrown, bushy, and a little scratchy.
- For quite a bit of the last half of the hike we’ll be following concrete village roads.