04-Jul-2011 -- This is the 15th 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. The previous report is 38°N 110°E.
Peter and I stayed the night in the town Héngshān (横山县), 25 km due west from the confluence. We got to bed after 1 AM and set the alarm for 5 AM hoping to have enough time to make it to the point before Peter had to start back to Yínchuān. Alas, we took the long way around and Peter ended up not having enough time, so I unpacked my bike from the jeep to continue the hunt on my own and we said our farewells. Peter drove back to Yínchuān, returned the jeep after 2,250 km of driving in five days, and flew back to his home in Chéngdū.
At the time we split up it was still early (6:40 AM) and the remaining distance to the confluence was short (6 km), so I expected to get to my goal within a couple minutes. However, at the end it took me 4 more hours!
First, I found out that the road I was on wasn’t leading to the confluence point. So I turned back and searched for another road. Local people told me that there was a road between the villages Léilóngwān (雷龙湾) and Bātúwān (巴图湾), but it took me three times to ride back and forth until I finally realized that this ‘road’ was only a muddy track. Riding on it turned out to be impossible and even pushing my bike ended up in blocked wheels due to the collected mud. So I ended up carrying my bike over quite a distance (2 km). It had obviously rained in the area and all tracks were in an unbelievable shape – all the way to the confluence point.
I abandoned my bike at a distance of 400 m and climbed a hill over bush land. The confluence was sitting right on top of a hill. All around the point are scattered graves with the nearest being in 30 m distance. From the point there is a nice view in all directions. Moss and grass is the dominating vegetation.
On my way back just 1800 m from the CP, I saw a farmer couple grinding grain. I also took over for a while (replacing her position) and found out that grinding is a tough job!
I continued the bike trip 50 km further south to Jìngbiān (靖边县) and stayed the night there.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 6 km
- Distance to a road: 2 km
- Distance to a track: 400 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 400 m
- Distance to houses: 1.4 m
- Time starting the hike: 10:38 a.m.
- Time at the CP: 10:43 a.m.
- Measured height: 1165 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 4 m
- Topography: on top of a hill. Slightly hilly area.
- Vegetation: grass, moss, lichen
- Weather: partially coudy, 25° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: 40 km beeline north of the town Jìngbiān in the Autonomous Region Inner Mongolia, but right at the border to Shǎnxī Province.
- Given Name: The Grinding Couple Confluence
Story continues at 37°N 108°E.