06-Sep-2006 -- This is the 4th confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
It was already afternoon when I reached Yuliqiao, a village ca. 30km south-east of the confluence. But between Yuliqiao and the confluence is a 3050m high pass, which meant a climb of 800m. I hesitated to go for it that day, not only due of the time constraints, but also because it was raining heavily and cold (even in low altitude).
So, I stood at the intersection in Yuliqiao and thought about my options for spending the rest of the day. The prospect of staying in an extremely rough hotel in the small Yuliqiao didn’t make me happy either. Much better wood have been to stay in the town of Huichuan, ca. 15 km past the confluence.
When a driver approached me and offered to take me to the top of the hill, my principle of not taking any other means of transport than the bicycle became weak…. Five minutes later, my bike was loaded in the car. 4 curious village people came with us, just to have some fun together with a foreigner. After a 45 minutes ride on a bumpy road we reached the top of the mountain pass, where I got off and quickly continued riding down.
There was a little time issue: it was already 18:15 and only one hour of daylight left. If I wanted to visit the confluence that day, I had to hurry up. Otherwise, I would have had to go to Huichuan first and than come back all the way on the next day.
At 18:30 I left the road at a village called Dingximazhang with a remaining distance of 1.2km to the CP. I ran cross-county directly towards the target. Thereby the soaked soil let me to sink deeply into mud, puddles and streams. Soon I abandoned my bike at a farmer’s house (with giving a quick 1 minute explanation that I would be right back). Then I ran up the mountain, thereby scratching my legs at thorns, crossed over 2 steep hills and reached the confluence still with sufficient daylight left to take meaningful pictures of it.
The way back to the main road was much more difficult. It got completely dark and I lost my way. I had to carry my bike over fields and deep mud for over an hour. My appearance in Huichuan was accordingly. However, the mud didn’t affect my mood at all: I had a complete visit and a good hotel and a big dinner in Huichuan!
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 19:08 p.m.
- Time to reach the CP from the main road: 38 minutes
- Distance to a track: 1000 m
- Distance to a road: 1.2 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 1000 m
- Distance to houses: 1000 km
- Topography: hilly, if not mountainous. Almost on the top of a mountain range.
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 3.9 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- GPS height: 2692 m
- Vegetation: thorn bushes, thistles, nearby a big meadow.
- Weather: overcast and light rain, 10° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In southern part of Gansu Province, in Weiyuan County, on a mountain, accessible on muddy cow’s paths. Far view to the North in direction Huichuan.
- Given Name: The Hasty Mud Confluence
Story continues at 36°N 104°E