Well, we finally made it. And we were so glad we waited. September 28, 2016 was the perfect day to be on the Great Wall. It was a clear day, we got a direct bus ride there, and the Wall was not the least bit crowded. (After looking at video and pictures of the Wall during the holidays we especially realized how lucky we were on this subject!) After an hour/hour and a half bus ride to the wall at Mutianyu we bought on a shuttle bus and went up to the base of the wall. Because it was such a large hike to actually get up to the wall, we decided to take the easier, and more fun, way up. To help me tell the story of the Great Wall, I’ve enlisted the help from the other Ochsner 6 to each tell us about their favorite part of our adventure. Eli’s favorite part was the chair ride up.
Eli – The Chair Lift
Eli: “My favorite part was the chair ride up to the Great Wall ’cause-hmm-I have never been on a chair ride before. It was so cool how high we were. I could see all the stairs and the people on the stairs. I really liked that the Great Wall is on a tall mountain so you could see anything, like, little stores and stuff too.”
Of course, after we got up on top of the wall we began to hike. It was a lot of work (and really good exercise!) but the view was definitely worth it. Those parts were Mom and Isaac’s favorites – I’ll let them tell it.
Isaac – the Scenery on Top, Mom – the Beautiful Conditions
Isaac: “The scenery was my favorite part. It was really pretty cool to see how long, how massive, the Great Wall was. At the end of the wall, at the top, you could see the overgrown wall [the part that hasn’t been restored] and that was really, really, pretty.”
Mom: “Since I saw the Great Wall back in 2000 (although a different site), I was prepared for a lot of the “wow” factors that everyone else was experiencing for the first time. My favorite part of the day was the day we got to experience it on . . . beautiful temperatures (not too hot, not too cold), clear skies (no smog to prevent seeing everything we wanted to see), and no crowds (there were hardly any people there . . . making climbing so much easier). Had we come on the day before (like we were supposed to) . . .the wind that was coming through the area would have made us pretty miserable. I was just thanking God that we had all three of those factors in our favor, making the experience so better and memorable. I was also thankful that Grams and Papa were there with us and that they were healthy to climb right beside us!”
Scattered along the wall were lookout towers. They served as our goal points throughout the trip. They were my favorite part!
Audrey – the Lookout Towers
Audrey: “I guess I’m going to have to say that the look out tours were my favorite part…probably just because they provided some motivation to climb all those steps! I mean, just being up on the wall was beautiful in and of itself, but sometimes I don’t know how much motivation I would have had to get all the way to the top without a goal to look forward to! Plus the views from the towers were spectacular, really breath taking. It was also kinda fun that on the first tower we got to, you could climb to the top on a rather steep ladder and write your name at the top. It was interesting to see all the different places people had come from! Some people also got kind of created with what they wrote. There was a Harry Potter reference, a Lord of the Rings reference, and even a presidential campaign up there. It was definitely a great experience.”
After hiking for what seemed like ages we finally made it to the top of the wall – as far as we could go in the direction we were going. And everyone made it, which was Dad’s favorite part!
Dad – Everybody Made it to the Top!
Dad: “One of my favorite parts was seeing Grams and Papa make it all the way to the top of this section of the wall. The pictures cannot quite convey how steep it was. But, it was really fun for me that we could all experience it together because the views and the feeling of walking on the wall are hard to describe.”
After around hours of hiking we decided to make our way down the mountain, but again we decided to not go down by flights and flights of stairs. Instead we took a toboggan (really just a glorified feed sack slide like you’d see at the fair) down the mountain. It was definitely a favorite of everyone’s, but Annie is going to tell you the details.
Annie – the Toboggan Down
Annie: “Ohhh, I bet everyone is going to say this, but [my favorite part was] sliding down. It was my favorite part well, probably, because I didn’t have to use my legs. By the end of the day we were all so tired… [climbing the wall] was a ton of work. So we slid down on a sled on a metal track. You could push a lever forwards to go faster and backwards to stop. It was my favorite part because, I mean who really gets to slide down the Great Wall? Who really gets to see the Great Wall?”
Once we returned to the common area, after a bit of shopping we decided to get some ice cream. Abel, of course, was very excited about that!
Abel – Probably the Snacks
Abel: I think it is safe to assume that Abel’s favorite part of the Great Wall was the ice cream we got after we had successfully gotten up and down the Wall. He also appreciated the free ride that he got up the wall on Daddy’s back. No walking for our baby dictator, no sir! 😉 Still, all that riding can make a baby tired, so he made sure to get a good nap in on the way home.
There you have it folks! The Great Wall from the Ochsner 7 perspective! It truly was an amazing experience for all of us,probably my favorite adventure thus far. Definitely one that we will never forget. (Well except for Abel, that poor kid isn’t gonna remember a lick of it…;) )
As always, here’s a great sign we saw at the wall…Just think about that one for a minute…