03-Jan-2004 -- Visit Date: January 3, 2003
Completed visit by the Yip-Bannicq Group (Sierra Yip-Bannicq, Florence Bannicq, Ray Yip, and Oreo)
January 3rd was an unusually warm and sunny day in Beijing, and it was too good a day not to attempt another “Line Hunt”. We decided to head north of Beijing into the scenic mountain region. The point we had in mind was the one next to our first hunt in October 2003 (41°N 116°E) in Hebei Province. According to the map, both railway and highway went within 2 kilometers of this particular point.
The drive to the village nearest to the point took about 2 hours from our home in Beijing, and 2nd half of the journey was classic rural northern China – pleasant and calm, a mark contrast from the mega urban center we had just escaped.
We were able to follow the GPS to the end of a village called Ping Shan (Peaceful Mountain), which was the nearest community from the point we were hunting for. The village has 300 households with as many donkeys as people, so it seemed. We parked within one kilometer from the point. Some locals on our way back have shown us the impressive red rock mountain looming in the distance and have identified it as “ Phoenix Mountain” because of its resemblance to the large wings of a bird. We estimated that the point was at the foothill of the same mountain or near the middle of the left wing of the phoenix.
It took us 30 minutes to locate the point by going up a slope of empty cornfields. The confluence point, as it turned out, was located in a small gully about 7-8 meters below the ground level. For this reason, the photos taken for 3 of the 4 directions were made at the rim of the gully about 15 meters from the actual confluence point. Otherwise, the views of the mud walls inside the gully would not have been very revealing.
One regret in this hunt was that, Sierra, the GPS navigator, had come cross a dead rabbit in a trap about 200 meters before the point, and was consequently engaged in performing a proper burial for the rabbit hence she did not actually complete the hunt. Oreo, our dog, however was able to reach the point.
All in all, this is by far the easiest line hunting we have done. Instead of the typical freezing temperature of January, we were able to enjoy the hunt in a light jacket under a wonderful sunshine.