19-Jul-2012 -- This is the 9th out of 20 confluence points that I reached on a bicycle trip to the North-East of China. The narrative of the trip starts from 41°N 117°E.
It took a couple days to reach this confluence point after visiting its south-western neighbour 47°N 121°E. Mostly I rode unsealed forest tracks and progress was correspondingly slow. But the reader should not misinterpret this: riding bicycle on those roads is fun: no traffic, lots of shade, few but very friendly people along the road.
The closest you can approach the confluence on public roads is 5.7 km, but a hidden track at an intersection of 6.6 km distance helps to get significantly closer to this remote point. Soon after leaving the official road, I had to cross a knee-deep river and various puddles on the track. Right next to one of those puddles 25 butterflies were gathering.
The road wouldn’t directly point straight to the confluence, but in a helical pattern I approached the confluence. I was prepared to do a 5+ km hike through the dense forest, but astonishingly a branch of the track came as close as 200 m to the confluence point! At the edge of a huge meadow I parked the bike and began a short hike through an oak forest. The vegetation was manifold, consisting of various kinds of trees, bushes, flowers, ferns, moss, and horsetails. Obviously, a fire must have devastated the place a couple years ago, which I concluded from finding some burnt trunks.
On my way back, I became hungry and thirsty whilst my food and water supplies were almost completely gone. So I was longing for this place called Bìjiādiàn (毕家店) which was marked as a town in my map. But when I got there, I found out that this was only a location name, not a town at all! Now I would have to ration my last couple nuts for the rest of the day. And in such situation, I bumped into these people, who were having a picnic or more precisely having a feast. I was invited to have lunch with them and treated like a king with fish, meats, and all kinds of drinks. It appeared to me that this group of nice people was sent to me by heaven. After telling our stories and taking tons of pictures, I headed further and reached the city of Zhālántún (扎兰屯市) in the evening.
CP visit details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: ca. 60 km
- Distance to a track: 200 m
- Distance to a footpath: 200 m
- Duration of the hike to reach the CP: 10 minutes
- Distance of bicycle parking: 200 m
- Distance to houses: 10 km
- Time at the CP: 9:24 AM
- Measured height: 689 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 7 m
- Topography: hilly
- Vegetation: oak and birch forest, ferns, moss, various kinds of flowers, horsetail
- Weather: sunny, 30° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Butterfly Gathering Confluence
Story continues at 48°N 123°E.