07-Jul-2011 -- This is the 17th 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 37°N 108°E.
I got up at 4:30 AM in the town Dìngbiān (定边县) and hit the road at 5:15 AM. Dìngbiān is located in south-western direction exactly 70 km beeline distance from the confluence point. The country road 307, which is parallel to the motorway, goes directly to the confluence. Who imagines that such a desert road with a highway next to it would hardly have traffic, is misled. Heavy truck traffic heading towards the city Yínchuān (银川) is avoiding the road toll. This fact gave me a headache while cycling on that road.
Having cycled 35 km, I had breakfast in the town Yánchí (盐池县), which literally means ‘Salt Lake City’. In fact there is a salt lake nearby.
China’s Great Wall runs through the town. In fact, The Wall comes very close to the confluence point, missing it by a view kilometers.
Riding closer towards the confluence point turned out to be fighting against a heavy headwind. The storm got so bad, that my cycling speed was averaging 11 km/h. Then I found out that it is faster to spurt a short distance as fast as I could (20 km/h) and then walk for a while (5 km/h).
I left the main road at the village Gāoshāwō (高纱窝乡), which is only 3 km from the confluence. I didn’t find a proper track to the farmstead called Mǎchǎng (马场) which is near the confluence. I followed an unused path with thorny plants and ended up having a flat tire. Repairing it in the heat without any shade or shelter was not a pleasure. Then I abandoned my bicycle and walked the remaining distance of 1.4 km to the point.
The confluence is on a sandy territory with some sand dunes to the south and the irrigated fields of Mǎchǎng to the south. Some grass is growing on that sandy ground.
I walked back to my bike, rode back to Gāoshāwō, had a watermelon and hit the road again. I stayed the night 40 km further towards Yínchuān in the town Nìngdōng (宁东镇).
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 2.4 km
- Distance to a road: 2.4 km
- Distance to a track: 350 m (but to sandy to drive on
- Distance of parking the bike: 1.4 km
- Distance to houses: 1200 m
- Time starting the hike: 2:10 p.m.
- Time at the CP: 2:35 p.m.
- Measured height: 1404 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 3 m
- Topography: slightly rolling hills
- Vegetation: short grass
- Weather: sunny, 33° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the prefecture Wúzhōng (吴忠) in the Autonomous Region Níngxià. Steppe.
- Given Name: The Great Wall Confluence
Story continues at 39°N 106°E.