18-Jul-2011 -- This confluence was attempted during my bicycle trip along the Great Wall of China. The story starts at 41°N 115°E. The previous report is 39°N 100°E.
This confluence is “just” 35 km from Jiāyùguān (嘉峪关市) as the crows fly. The small city Jiāyùguān is famous for having the westernmost garrison of the great wall. Since this fort is also the largest and best preserved, hundreds of tourists flock in every day.
However, the confluence is located remotely in the Yúshùgōu Northmountain Range (榆树沟北山) without any roads or infrastructure in its vicinity. The nearest possible road travel cannot be achieved directly from Jiāyùguān City, but by circling around the confluence and approaching it from the north. 20 km north of the confluence, there is the Oasis named 39th Company Farm (Sānjiǔgōngsīnóngchǎng 三九公司农场), but local people call it Flowersea (Huāhǎi 花海).
I started cycling in the early morning in the town Jiǔquán, had a breakfast-stop in Jiāyùguān City and then cycled to the oasis Flowersea. It was again an incredibly hot day, so I was already exhausted when I reached the oasis at noon time. Here, the farmers rarely see visitors, so I was welcomed warmly and served with a free lunch in a private family (there is no restaurant). After refilling all my water reserves, I continued cycling through the fields (irrigated by artesian water) towards the confluence. The oasis stretches over an area of 15 km by 15 km with alternating desert and agricultural fields. Finding the starting point for the hike that is closest to the confluence turned out to be difficult, since there are many dead-ends and the system of tracks is not easily comprehensible.
At 2:30 PM the beeline distance to the confluence was still 18 km and I hadn’t even reached my proposed starting point for the hike. Looking towards the desert, I noticed an approaching sand storm. I considered my situation and decided to cancel the attempt. Although I had investigated 70 km of cycling already, I opted not to hike alone the 24 km round-trip. It was extremely hot and I had no plan where to stay the night.
Actually, I turned around already too late! My return trip was against a heavy storm (I had to push my bike several kilometers) and since the oasis is located in a natural depression, I had a good ascend. At dusk I returned to Jiāyùguān in an exhausted and dehydrated stage.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 20 km
- Distance to a road: 11 km
- Distance to a track: 11 km
- Distance of parking the bike: 18 km
- Distance to houses: 12 km
- Time at turn-around: 14:30
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 18.3 km
- Topography: mountainous at the confluence
- Weather: sunny, 35° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the Gānsù Province north-east of the City Jiāyùguān, located remotely on the Yúshùgōu Northmountain Range (榆树沟北山) near the Héxī Corridor (being the Gānsù part of the Silk Road). Dry and desert area.
- Given Name: The Dust Devil Confluence
Story continues at 38°N 101°E.