11-Sep-2005 -- 38N – 107E Ningxai (宁夏), China
Visit Date: September 11, 2005
This is the 1st confluence visit in Ningxai province –the smallest province with only 4 confluence points (Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai each has only one CP, but they are municipalities).
We used the same method a week ago for the line-hunting trip in Yunnan (25N 102E) by taking the first flight, instead of the last flight, to go to Yinchuan (Capital of Ningxai) for a meeting starting next morning. This gave us almost a whole day to hunt.
Our flight from Beijing arrived on time at 9.30 am and met by our local host Xiao Baoping who not only arranged a jeep, but also keen to join us for his first line hunting exercise.
From the airport, the straight-line distance to this CP was about 80 km. We took the expressway heading southeast to Shannxi province which suppose to go very near the CP. Our greatest concern was finding an expressway exit near the CP.
There were hardly any traffic on this expressway across desert, and exits were all 30-40 km apart. As luck has it, as we passed the nearest location on the expressway to the CP (2.6 km), there was also a sign indicating that an exit was a kilometer ahead. The name of the township of this exit is Gao-Sha-Wo.
We back tracked a little bit on the old highway which paralleled the expressway and found a dirt road which headed straight to the CP. When we reached about 500 meters we stopped the car so we can enjoy a little walk in the desert. We reached the CP a little after 11 O’clock – much easier hunt they we anticipated.
The CP located in a sandy field with limited growth of grass and shrubs, typical landscape for the northern part of Ningxai, except for the banks for Yellow River which can benefit from irrigation water. The CP located in Gao-Sha-Wo village which is at the edge of the township of the same name.
On the way out, we ran into a local resident on a tractor who told us that, the area we were visiting now called “Horse Field”. This is the result of a government policy in recent years to ban sheep and cattle grazing to let the grass grow - to prevent further desertification. The limited grass gave the impression is an area for horse to run. Before this effort, the whole area had little green color to show.
It took us less than 2 hours to complete ¼ of the confluence points in Ningxai. It is also great that the first CP visited in Ningxai was done with Xiao Baoping, the first-time hunter, and a Ningxai resident. Now he is keen to go for the remaining 3 CPs in Ningxai.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – a drive up (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 2– desert with thin vegetations (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: not applicable – 2 - rural northern China farming areas no time to check out the local villages or talk to anybody (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)