We started this hike at about the middle of the Gubeikou section of Great Wall, which is normally the end of our Gubeikou Great Wall loop hike.
Because of a large storm a few days earlier, the skies were clearer than usual, and we could see from the start of the hike all the way to the hills and ridges far beyond our destination near Simatai.
To begin the hike we had a short walk through a wooded valley before climbing up a hill trail to reach the Great Wall. Close by to this point was an section where part of the outer wall had fallen away, and we were able to see the construction technique: layers of packed earth and rubble forming the core, with bricks on the outside edges.
From there, the hike continued along the Great Wall to the large tower that marks a stretch of the wall that is closed. From there, we descended into a valley filled with trees and cornfields that belong to farmers from a nearby village. We followed a path that lead through the fields, ending up on a ridge that took us along the side of the Great Wall and eventually up onto the wall again.
Not long after that, we arrived at the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, where the walking was much easier ... to begin with!
As we headed in the direction of Simatai, the wall started to climb up and down steep ridges, and we all had quite a bit of stairclimbing to do. Some of the faster hikers headed on to take a closer look at the Simatai section, before backtracking to the trail that took us down off the wall and to our tasty late lunch.
Statistics: 6 hours in total, with 5,5 hours of walking over approx. 15km; starting height 250m, highest point 610m (the tower from where we left the wall), finish height 411m.