02-Jun-2004 -- 40 N – 112 E Inner Mongolia, China
Visit Date: June 2, 2004
This is the second confluence visit of the Inner Mongolia by the Yip-Bannicq group (Ray Yip) and friends - Button Zhao, and Zhang Baolin
We had an early start from the Hohot, the capital of Inner Mongolia for a project site visit at Qing-He County. After the site visit, we took the southern road back to Beijing across Shanxi province. The county before entering Shanxi is called He-Lin-Ge-Er County and 40N-112E is within striking distance of this road.
The drive across this part of Inner Mongolia was spectacular – rolling hills of grass and farmland with occasional villages. We turn off at a small country road about 6 km straight-line distance from the point. We passed ruins of Great Wall about 2 km after the turn. The road took us to a little village called Dong-Er-Gou and put us 1.2 km from the object of our hunt. At the end of village we found an even narrower road that winds through farming field and we stopped on a hill and just short of 200 meters from N40-E112 – located in the middle of a newly plowed field, and overlooking another village below.
We were very fortunate to hit the dirt road that after 8 km of winding and rough drive brought us straight to the point, especially in a relatively remote area. This road only tractors and four-wheel drive vehicles can pass through.
One the way back, we stopped in Dong-Er-Gou village and found out it was settled in Tong dynasty, over a thousand years ago. Most the homes here are cave dwellings – hollowed out core of large mud blocks or dug right into the hill. We visited the home of an elderly couple, and found inside of dwelling cool and spacious (see photo).
We found a different way out of the village and reached the border of Shanxi province within 20 km which is marked by another line of Great Wall ruins.
This line-hunting exercise added a little over an hour to our journey and made it extra memorable for a pleasant drive across south-central Inner Mongolia.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – straight forward drive to within 200 meters from the point (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4 – Hilly and open grassland dotted with little villages and ruins of Great Wall (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 4– isolated cave-dwelling rural communities (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)