The Great Wall of China – Hiking from Jinshanling to Simatai

Between Jinshanling and Simatai lies a 10-kilometer stretch of wall punctuated with watch towers, steep plunges, and scrambling assents along the Greatness of history. Possibly classified as one of the best backpacking experiences of my life, walking along the 2000 year old crumbling facade was simply amazing. Since I didn’t know any of the following bits before my trek, I’ll take the moment to entertain you all with a tiny piece of trivia. Jinshanling was built during the Ming Dynasty under Emperor Hongwu.

Though many parts of this portion of wall have been restored, several kilometer stretches of tumbling rocks caused us to clamber on hands and knees, wearily eyeing the ground floor several meters below. I didn’t think it a sprained ankle would be the wisest choice since cell phone coverage wasn’t available. Going at a slow, steady pace, the 10 k walk took us over four hours. Granted, we did stop an unlimited amount of time to take photos…and more photos…and yet more photos. We also took many opportunities to sit and stare, contemplating the years of sweat and effort that went into this grand wonder. Most of the time, it was just the four of us meandering along the Wall for this was one of the lesser crowed portions near Beijing. Nobody was around as far as the eye could see as the Wall tumbled and rose in the distance.

Quite an enlightening adventure….you honestly have to experience it yourself.