22-Feb-2013 -- This confluence visit is the 12th out of a series of 15 visits in Malaysia and Thailand. The previous confluence is 15°N 100°E. It is in turn part of a 4-months bicycle trip starting in Tasmania at 43°S 146°E.
It was tempting to attempt the unvisited confluences 15°N 99°E and 16°N 99°E and the trip would have been an adventure for sure. Previous visitors had failed to reach their goal due to the dense jungle. And I didn't see how I could do better - may be with a little more effort or passion. But on the other hand I was alone which would be risky. But the primary reason why I didn't attempt those confluences was that I was having fun cycling and not looking forward to doing bush bashing for two days. So I decided to reach this easily accessible confluence instead.
In the morning of confluence day, I woke up at 4:00 AM in the little town Banphot Phisai (บรรพตพิสัย), located 6.5 km beeline south of the confluence point. After some emailing on my mobile phone, I left the hotel at 5:50 AM and had breakfast at the market. At this time of the day, it is still dark, but the locals are already busy buying their breakfast in plastic bags at the market. Those bags are taken home and eaten there. For me, as a "homeless" traveler, the market-women would help me out with their private bowl such that I didn't have to eat from a plastic bag. And they also gave me a chair to sit while having breakfast.
When the daylight came, I started cycling northwards on a main highway up to 1 km distance and then took little farm-tracks for the final approach. At a distance of 150 m, an interesting thing happened: more than 1000 ducks came along and crossed the track ahead of me. It was a magnificent spectacle for me - watching and hearing thousands of ducks. An elderly couple was herding them. I chatted with them and continued for the last bit.
I found the confluence in an irrigation ditch just 5 m from the center of a track. The crop on the fields around is solely rice. There is a little wooden shelter in 30 m distance, which existed already in 2003. In order to get a zero-reading, I climbed down into the muddy ditch. While doing so, I almost slipped and by a hair's breadth, would have ruined my camera and GPS device.
In the evening, I reached the city of Tak (ตาก), which is about 150 km further north-west.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 1000 m
- Distance to a track: 5 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 5 m
- Time to reach CP from bicycle parking: 1 minute
- Time at CP: 7:00 AM
- Measured height: 38 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy: 3 m
- Topography: flat
- Vegetation: Rice. Only Rice. Grass and bushes in the ditch.
- Weather: fine, 25° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The 1000 Ducks Confluence
More pictures of the trip can found at mautz.net.
The story continues is at 17°N 99°E.