30-Jul-2008 -- This is the 18th out of 23 confluences that I visited on my bicycle trip to the North-East of China. The story starts from 40°N 117°E.
From Mǎnguī (满归真), the town next to my last confluence 52°N 122°E I had to cycle two days until I reached this place. On day no.1 I crossed a mountain pass from Mǎnguī in Inner Mongolia to Mòhé Town in Hēilóngjiāng Province. Mòhé is China’s northernmost town (县城). It is a very special place due to many reasons and it is a famous tourist destination. In 1987 a fire had burnt down the town and the whole district (including this confluence!). In Mòhé Town you can visit the fire-museum that gives you details of the disaster. Now, Mòhé has been pompously rebuilt. The danger of fire however is still existent – all measures are taken to avoid another burn out of the densely forested district.
On confluence day, I started from the district town Mòhé (漠河), 40 km west of the confluence point. About half way, I had a great view over the forest and meandering Amur River. In Túqiàng (图强镇), which is 15 km from the confluence, I saw some Russian signs. These were the only advertisings in Russian that I ever observed in China.
At a distance of 7.5 km, the main road made a sharp bent to the south and was useless for the final approach. Fortunately there was an intersection with a minor road that pointed in the right direction. Unfortunately there was a barrier with guards. When I showed up, they began to interrogate me. What should I answer to the question why I want to travel this way? There is nothing but forest behind the gate. So I opted for telling the truth (simplified): I want to visit a point 8 km in this direction. As I predicted, this was not a satisfying answer. “There is nothing” and “it is dangerous” were some of their comments. I saw already myself loosing this confluence…
But when they argued that their main concern was me getting lost in the forest, I got out my GPS receiver. This was my last counter-argument I had and I knew that it could bring me into trouble. But as soon as I got out the GPS, a wonder happened: “OK, we see that you are able to find your way.” With these words they opened the gate for me.
On the road I reached a distance of 1600 m and a side road helped me to get within 940 m. From there, I could follow a meanwhile abandoned track to a former gravel pit. In the area I could see burnt trees from the forest fire 20 years ago. With only 130 m to hike, I could reach the confluence within 10 minutes on foot. I had to climb a steep hill, but found the confluence on the other side, just 6 m from this steep knoll. Due to the dense vegetation the pictures at the confluence are meaningless. But just 6 m to the east on the hill, there is a good view to the forests and mountains. Near the gravel pit there are also some burnt houses (150 m from CP). Now this place has been abandoned.
I rode the same way back to the barrier and continued my trip to Tǎhé (塔河), where I stayed for the night.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 7.5 km
- Distance to a road: 940 m
- Distance to a track: 130 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 131 m
- Distance to houses: 13 km
- Time for hiking: 10 minutes
- Time at the CP: 8:54 a.m.
- Riding time (distance) from Mòhé: 2:50 hours (45.2 km)
- Measured height: 531 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 6 m
- Topography: rolling hills, steep slope right next to the confluence – probably not a natural knoll.
- Vegetation: reed, grass, young trees and old burnt trees.
- Weather: sunny, 20° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the northern most part of Hēilóngjiāng, but also the northern most confluence of China (shared with four others). On forest land that had burnt down in 1987.
- Given Name: The Burnt Forest Confluence
Story continues at 52°N 125°E.