16-Jul-2011 -- This is the 19th 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 39°N 101°E.
In my hotel in Shāndān (山丹) I woke up naturally without alarm at 4:20 AM and had 5 packs of instant cereals for breakfast. At this time of the day, the breakfast places are still closed or just starting to prepare the dough for dumplings. At 5 AM I hit the road towards the city Zhāngyè (张掖市). A heavy tailwind helped me a lot. I reached up to 50 km/h on flat open country and reached Zhāngyè two hours later with an odometer reading of 70 km. Overtaking all these e-bikes was thrilling. After a second breakfast in the city, I approached the confluence point on road S213 until I reached the village Nántáicūn (南台村). Here I sat down, talked with local people about the way to the village Líyuán (梨园村) and refilled my water reserves. Then I crossed the river Líyuánhé (梨园河) and rode one kilometer towards the town Línzé (临泽县). At a distance of 2 km I entered a little side valley, which had (to my surprise) a little track where I could ride my bike on. I followed the canyon a while and found that the nearest distance I could get to the confluence was 1.08 km. I parked my bike, unloaded my backpack from my panniers and filled them with water, camera, GPS receiver, mobile phone, and sunscreen. One kilometer doesn’t sound like a long hike, but the terrain was extremely rugged and rough. It took me 10 minutes to simply cover the first 60 m when climbing the steep rock face that let me get out of the canyon. On top, I discovered several ups and downs ahead. Finding the best way out of this labyrinth would be a perfect setting for a confluencers’ competition. Finding the ‘best’ way is a similar optimization problem to the task of building a road through the mountains. You need to compromise between the shortest route and the minimal ascend.
At noon I had located the confluence point directly on top of a ridge. Accordingly the panoramic view is great at the point. The hills are barren with the only vegetation consisting of some scattered little bushes. The area is crowded with tracks made my sheep. Obviously there are seasons that allow some greens to grow here.
I hiked back to my bike and continued riding to the first shady spot near a water well and had an afternoon nap (note that the temperature was 37° C). I spend the night in the little town Nánhuá (南华镇).
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 2 km
- Distance to a road: 2 km
- Distance to a track: 1.05 km
- Distance of parking the bike: 1.05 km
- Distance to houses: 2 km
- Time starting the hike: 11:00 a.m.
- Time at the CP: 12:00
- Measured height: 1887 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Topography: rugged mountainous
- Vegetation: scattered tiny bushes
- Weather: sunny, 37° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the Province Gānsù near the Héxī Corridor (being the Gānsù part of the Silk Road). Dry and desert area.
- Given Name: The Rugged Desert Confluence
Story continues at 40°N 98°E.