10-Jun-2004 -- 45 N – 128 E Heilongjiang（黑龙江), China
Visit Date: June 10, 2004
This is the first line-hunting trip in the Heilongjiang province of the Yip-Bannicq group (Ray) and friends (Ms. Wei Xiao-Yu, Dr. Zhang Yeli, and Mr. Miao). Thus far, this is the most northern point visited by the group.
Heilongjiang means “black dragon river”, it is the most northern and eastern part of China and the river, a natural border with Russia, is stretching over a thousand km.
This particular line-hunting represented a small detour for the 600 km long drive from the capital Harbin to Dong Ning city, the major crossing point between China and Russia. According to the map 45N-128E was not far off the main highway - 301.
We started off near noon time hoping to get to Dong Ning before dark.
Highway 301 cuts through wilderness and farmland and on the average there is a road turn off the highway every 10 to 15 km. When we were about 3 km away from our objective, we found a dirt road heading south – the exact direction the GPS was pointing.
This dirt road must have been built for going to this confluence point. After a few gentle turns, we parked 200 meters north from the target of our hunt. What a lucky break.
45N-128E is located in the middle of rice paddies. The last 10 meters were accomplished by walking on the very narrow divider between two newly planted paddies. Actually, we were about 1-2 meters short, and only able to get the GPS to read N44.59.999. Ray was not brave enough to stand in the mud up to his knee to get the 45.00.000 reading.
Both Dr. Zhang and Mr. Miao were first time hunters, and they were very pleased with both the ease of the hunt, and the little break from the long drive to become the visitors to the first Heilongjiang’s confluence point (out of a total of 48).
After a few photos, we met a farmer and Ray told him that the rice field where the confluence point was located was a very special piece of land . He responded immediately: “I know – this rice paddy belongs to my nephew, and it always gives the best harvest”. It was special indeed.
After a brief visit to the nearest village – Xiao-Tia-Ping-Gou, which was located half a km away, we resumed our journey toward Dong Ning.
This little line-hunting detour added 45 minutes to our trip, but made everybody excited – “Where is the next one?” asked the first-time hunters.
Actually the next point (45N-129E) was also not too far from the Highway 301 we were taking. But, we still had over 300 km to go before dark.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – can not ask for an easier approach, not even one wrong turn (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4– rural farming area calm and pleasant near the confluence point, and the scenery of rolling hills of the long drive was terrific (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3– Northern China rural setting (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)