25-Oct-2003 -- N – 40 and E – 116 Located in Fang Shan District in Beijing Municipality, China
Date of Visit – October 25, 2003
This is the second visit to this confluence point – it resulted in a complete visit.
Previous visit was made by Keith Ketterer and Jeanette Chu on August 26, 2001
Expedition team: Florence Bannicq, Ray Yip, C.P. Yip, Ann Yip and Oreo (our dog). Only Ray made it to the confluence point because of the steep climb required.
This is our second line-hunting expedition, and the plan was to visit an ancient village in Fang Shan, which would bring us close to the confluence point on the way. The previous visit by Ketterer and Chu had indicated that the confluence point was located near the township of Xiweidian but on a hill that is not very accessible.
Given that Ray has had 30 years of climbing experience; the objective was to determine if the confluence point spotted by Kettner and Chu could be reached as part of our trip to the old village which was build during early part of Qing dynasty. Both points of interest are near National Highway 106 going west from Beijing to the Hebei province. The confluence visit turn out to be a strenuous one, which was done after our leisure visit of the Chun Xia village on a beautiful autumn day.
Within the township of Xiweidian we were able to cross both lines of 40 N and 116 E, and spot the general area described by the previous visit. We were able to drive on a dirt road off Highway 106 to get about ½ km from the point and realized that the confluence point was located on the other side of the hill described by the previous visit (Ketterer and Chu estimated the confluence point to be on the South-facing slope of the hill which could be seen from the township). The road we were able to get on to get closer to the area they described appeared to be newly developed for construction work nearby.
From the nearest point we could drive toward the confluence point, there was a narrow valley with a rocky pathway leading toward 40 N. It took about ½ km to reach 40 N in the valley, at which point 116 E is about 400 meters to the east. The major problem was that, it would require going up on a 50-degree slope with dense bush. Ray managed to struggle up a good part of the slope and found a goat trail near the ridge. Thankfully the little trail was heading in the right direction and he was able to come within 20 meters of the confluence point. The final 20 meters of cutting through the dense bush and earlier struggle to go up even denser field took heavy toll on the skin of Ray’s forearms (lesson learned: wear long sleeve for such adventure).
The dense bush at the confluence point gave barely enough room to stand and take the pictures in the four directions. Once back on the trail the fall colors were spectacular. The point indeed was at the North-facing slope of the hill, further than previously estimated. The actual time taken from our car to make it to the confluence point and back was just about one hour. The twenty some odd scratches on Ray’s arm could have suggested that he had been in the woods longer. The condition of the last part of the trail was such that it would not have been possible to bring Oreo our dog alone.
Thanks to Ketterer and Chu’s first visit, this visit was a very quick one. In this very hilly part of Beijing, the lucky break was the narrow valley, which pretty much parallels 116 E so that the struggle with the hill and bush was only limited to 500 meters or so.
We do recommend the ancient village 30 km down the road, it is well preserved and indeed a very fine place to visit.