14-Jul-2012 -- This is the 6th out of 20 confluence points that I reached on a bicycle trip to the North-East of China. The narrative of the trip starts from 41°N 117°E.
I had a unique experience: from the town Gāorìhǎn (高日罕镇) I was told that the road was flooded 7 km further. Nobody would be able to cross the river there, because the road was destroyed and the river was breast deep. A look at the map made me aware that it would be a 100 km deviation to cross the river further south and then come back to the road I was heading for. So I ignored all warnings and cycled to the river. Indeed, the river had grown to a huge swamp more than 500 m wide and no bridge, no ferry and even not any person. Should I return back?
I left my bike and all my belongings at the water’s edge and started crossing the swamp, which was ankle to knee deep. But then I came to the main waterway, where the water was too deep to cross and rapid. Nevertheless I didn’t give up and walked the swamp further up – about another 500 m – until I found a crossing possibility that was “only” belly button deep. I barely crossed the river with the upper part of my body staying dry. Now I thought that if I was able to cross once, I should be able to cross another time with my luggage. Certainly there was a risk that if I would slip, my belongings would flow down the river. But I decided to give it a try. I marked the crossing site with my shoes and went 1 km back to my bike. Since everything was too heavy, I just took my panniers and crossed again, came back and took my bike across – carrying it over my head. Two hours and six crossings later, I was safely on the other side with all my stuff – much faster than 100 km of additional biking.
The next morning – the 11th day of the trip, I started cycling at 4:50 AM from Bāyànhuā (巴彦花), a huge coal mining area. Shortly after, it was already time to leave the main road for the confluence (remaining distance 8 km). A new train line was being built that came quite close to the confluence (2.5 km) and there was a service road for the huge construction site that I was able to take. But I wasn’t able to come any closer than this, because there was no track pointing in the right direction and everything was swamp. So I stayed on various tracks until I had almost ridden a circle around the confluence point. Finally, I was able to come a bit closer (950 m), until I reached this
deep creek. I abandoned my bike, jumped over the creek and walked the remaining kilometer through the swamp.
The confluence is clearly in the wetlands (at least during the rainy summer months). It is located on a wide flood plain of a river with the mountains staying about 2 km away. The location was very unpleasant due to the number of mosquitoes that bit me. For each picture of the documentation I had to take into account one mosquito bite!
CP visit details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 7100 m
- Distance to a track: 2000 m
- Distance to a footpath: 1200 m
- Duration of the hike to reach the CP: 20 minutes
- Distance of bicycle parking: 950 m
- Distance to houses: 2000 m
- Time at the CP: 9:14 AM
- Measured height: 1009 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 3 m
- Topography: flat, hills in further distance
- Vegetation: grass, dandelion, white flowers
- Weather: sunny, 28° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Wetland Circle Confluence
Story continues at 46°N 121°E.