28-Jun-2011 -- This is the 5th out of 20 confluences that I reached on my bicycle trip along the Great Wall of China. The story starts at 41°N 115°E.
On day no.8 of my bike trip I got up at 5:30 a.m. For my terms this is sleeping late (I averaged 4 am during this trip), but after cycling 235 km the previous day, my body needed more sleep than usual. At 6:30 a.m. I departed from Sìzǐwáng (四子王旗) and rode along road S311 westwards. Taking this road caused quite a deviation, but therefore the approach to the confluence was straightforward and I had asphalt under my wheels. However, it was unclear to me how I could approach the last 10 km because there wasn’t any road shown on my map.
In the small village called Gōnghūdòng (公忽洞村) I asked a shop-keeper how I could get to the mountain village named Guānzhuāngzi (官庄子), since this village appeared to be right next to the confluence point according to Google-Maps. The shop keeper explained that local people call the village Lǎoláigōu (老来沟) and that I should take a gravel road uphill 2 km before entering the village Hālāhéshǎoxiāng (哈拉合少乡) in order to get there. This road turned out to be extremely tough with large boulders lying on the road surface. I gained about 500 m in height and made it over a mountain pass (1988 m) during the afternoon heat (ca. 30° Celsius). On the other side of the mountain pass the terrain was flat and I could cover the missing 1.2 km to the confluence point in no time.
The confluence turned out to be at the edge of a grain field slightly up an open valley. Nearby a friendly farmer couple was weeding the neighboring field. They let me carry out the picture documentation and the confluence dance without asking any questions about my background and my reasons to come here. I found their calmness quite unusual as I assume that not every day a foreigner steps on their field in order to document it. From the confluence point, the tiny village Guānzhuāngzi (官庄子) is visible. The valley is dominated by agricultural fields.
I spend the night in Hālāhéshǎoxiāng (哈拉合少乡), which is 7.7 km beeline from the confluence in the lower valley. My hotel room was quite ‘rustic’ to say it nicely. During the night, there was a coming and going of people (sharing 6 beds in one room) with some of them smoking, playing music and calling over their mobile phones in an audibility of a rock band.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 7 km
- Distance to a road: 230 m
- Distance to a track: 80 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 80 m
- Distance to houses: 270 m
- Time starting the hike: 4:00 p.m.
- Time at the CP: 4:08 p.m.
- Measured height: 1953 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 5 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 6 m
- Topography: high plateau with rolling hills
- Vegetation: farmland
- Weather: sunny, 28° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: On agricultural land in the county Wǔchuān in the Autonomous Region Inner Mongolia.
- Given Name: The Weeding Couple Confluence
Story continues at 41°N 110°E.