Hike from Jinshanling Great Wall to Simatai Great Wall

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Hike from Jinshanling Great Wall to Simatai Great Wall

Features: wild, ruined, preserved and original
Hiking Area: East Jinshanling and west Simatai ( 30 towers, 2 passes, 12 km)
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Hiking Level: intermediate
Cable car: available

The hike from the east Jinshanling Great Wall to the west Simatai Great Wall is the most challenging part of our 5-day Great Wall hike trip. During the 12-km hike, we will pass over 30 buildings (towers) - east Jinshanling 15 tower and west Simatai 15 towers, and two of the three passes on the Jinshanling Great Wall. There is a cableway up to the Jinshanling Great Wall. If you take a cable car up, you will skip over 5 watch towers. I choose to climb up the mountain, so I can trek across 30 towers and 2 passes. I don't suggest you use the cable car since it is very slow and unnecessary. The fact is that it is very easy to walk up to the Great Wall.

Shalingkou Pass
I walk up the mountain to the Shalingkou Pass, where I start my Jinshanling-Simatai hike eastward. The Shalingkou Pass was the mountain pass for the passage of people with horses and goods.

1. East Terrace
The first buidling I meet when I hike eastward from the Shalingkou Pass is the East Terrace. It is a roofless building leading up to the next tower.
2. Black Tower
This watch tower is called"Black Tower". Most of the towers on the Jinshanling Great Wall have two tiers and two doors - east door and west door. But the Black Tower has three tiers - underground, middle and upper. The Black Tower also has two doors, but its west door is an underground door. The underground door has a narrow and covert stone passage leading to the middle and upper floors. In a fight, if the underground is taken up by enemies, the soldiers on the middle and upper floors still have an advantageous place to wipe off the enemy down below. Why "Black Tower"? The legend has it that the Jinshanling Great wall was maintained and strengthened by Qijiguang (1528-1588),who was the general and commander along the Great Wall then. An old general from Ningxia also wanted to come here for building the Great Wall. His wife had died years before. His only daughter, nicknamed"Black Girl", was worried about her father's health and insisted in coming with him. Under her daugher's constant request, the old general had to agree with her. Black Girl followed his father, trekking through the numerous rivers and mountains. Finally they arrived here. She also took part in the construction of the Jinshanling Great Wall. One day, a newly built tower was set on fire by the lightening. Seeing the tower on fire, the Black Girl charged into the fire without any hesitation, trying to fight the fire. Then the tragedy happened. She was burned to death. All the soldiers were extremely sad and told the old general of his daughter's death. Her father said her daughter had died for her country and she was worthy of her sacrifice. The soldiers rebuilt a new tower based on the original burned tower. They named the tower"Black Girl Tower" in memory of 'Black Girl". After generation and generation, the name of the Black Tower became "Black Tower" instead of "Black Girl Tower".
3. 1st Building ( tower )
The watchtowers on the Great Wall are either one tiered or two-tiered. They are hollow inside. On the first floor there are some windows for shooting arrows. The soldiers could stay overnight inside.
4. 2nd Building ( tower )
The roofs of the towers on the Jinshanling Great Wall are varied in shape. Some are flat, arched, quadrangular or octagonal. One of the unique features of the Jinshanling Great Wall is the horse-refraining walls to keep off the horse, a good place to put up a resistance.

Remark: Some local farmers, or the local hawkers you may call them, keep an eye on each individual tourist and follow them from the beginning to the end everyday! They make a living by being a little useful for you during your hike in the hope that you will at last buy some their tourist books or souvenirs. Don't be frustrated by these dutiful farmers. To pay a little to know more about local life is not a bad thing. Enjoy your trip!