40 N – 111 E Inner Mongloia, China
Line Hunting Date: March 24, 2006
The 2nd anniversary line-hunting trip in Inner Mongolia
It was exactly 2 years ago we visited the first confluence point in Inner Mongolia (41N 112E). That first hunt was the longest hike we ever done thus far and only Sierra and Ray reached the objective, and Button had to stay behind with a fallen comrade For this hunt, Sierra was not able to join the party but Button made to the point with a 50 meters hike.
Bypassing the expressway – taking the scenic route home
At end of our visit in Inner Mongolia, we elect not to take the expressway back to Beijing which under normal condition will take four and half hours. Instead we took the scenic route near the Yellow River in order to hunt for this point. The GPS distance from Hohot, the capital of Inner Mongolia to this CP was 106 km. We departed Hohot about 2.30 pm after our last meeting.
A point in the middle of nowhere but in the backyard of the only house within miles
We took the route south and crossed the Yellow River in about an hour. The landscape south of Yellow River can best described as real desert with sand dunes. It took us almost another hour to find a dirt or sandy road leading toward the confluence point. At the start of this obscure road we were 5.5 km from the point, but after passing two villages we literally drove to the confluence point. Even though this is a rather desolated area with houses far and few in between, we located the confluence point about 15 meters behind a lone house in the middle of nowhere.
Living on the Confluence Point
The owner of this confluence point is Mr. and Mrs. Liu, and during our visit, only Mrs. Liu was home. They have been living here for more than 12 years and their children were grown and no longer living at home. Their main livelihood is raising sheep. We marked the all zeros point with a stick, and Mrs. Liu agreed to plant a tree on this very spot. By the time we bit goodbye to Mrs. Liu it was past 6 pm and sun already set.
Hunting for the hunter in the dark
Just about one km from the confluence point, our car had a flat after crossing a partially frozen creek. At which point, Ray decided to walk toward the highway for some exercise while Baolin and Button took care of the flat tire. It was expected to be a 15 minutes effort and the car will catch up with Ray before reaching the highway. It tuned out that, Ray reached highway by 7 pm in total darkness and the car still did not show up. By 7.30 pm, about one and half hour after the flat, Ray found a truck mechanic willing to go rescue the strained car. Just as the rescue party ready to take off, the car showed up! Turned out, there were some difficulties setting the jack on a sandy ground and took almost an hour to get the flat tired replaced. After the tire changed, Button and Baolin thought Ray was wondering in the nearby village so they went searching for him and resulted in more delay. Only after they gave up the search and came out to the highway the hunting party was reunited. After this 2-hour episode, we pushed on toward south and look for a meal and place to overnight. We followed a route parallel the Yellow River and called it the night in a small town in Shanxi province by 11 pm.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – An easy drive up if the right road can be found. (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 2– Desert environment but still able to sustain substance farming (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 2– Very isolated rural villages in the middle of no where (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)