07-Sep-2006 -- This is actually not a visit to a confluence, but a special visit to the Geographic Centre of China on a bicycle trip from Sichuan Province to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
On the internet, I had found the official coordinates for China’s Geographic Centre: 35° 33’ 49’’ N and 103° 23’ 19’’ E. That day I started biking in the town Huichuan and headed through the loess country westward. The nearer I came, the more likely it will be that local people know about it. At the spot, there was supposed to be a monument.
I came closer and closer, but nobody knew anything of a monument or the Centre of China. But anyway, I entered the coordinates into my GPS receiver and hunted the point.
I came through Hui and Dongxiang Minority area. 700m from the point, I asked again for China’s Centre, but all I got, was a crowd around me – not any hint of the centre.
At a small village called Pingzhuang, I left the road, crossed a river (without bridge) and climbed a steep hill on a footpath. The point itself is near the footpath on a little hill top. There was no monument at all. Interestingly, the loess soil at the Centre is hollow. Just at the spot, there is a big hole underneath making up a lower level. A kid guided me all the time. I taught him the significance of this spot and he soon was ready to have him photographed in the Centre of China.
The night I spend in the nearby district town of Songnanba, where I learned about the monument in Dongxiang village 26 km further north by road. At that time, I didn’t know about the first visit
of the monument by the Yip-Bannicq Group.
is a 2000 cm high steel tower erected in the year 2000, but now neglected and quickly degrading. Exactly in the centre, there is a map of China on the ceiling with Gansu-Dongxiangling marked with a hole in the middle. Water was dripping
out from the whole and soaking me wet. The reason for the negligence is given by the write-up of the first visit.
The coordinates as given on a stone engraving are 35° 33’ 49’’ N and 103° 23’ 19’’ E, but my GPS reading was 35° 50’ 41’’ N and 103° 27’ 7.6’’ E – 28km misplaced.
The monument is almost on the highest spot in the area – so afterwards I had a great rolling-down and made it to Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu that day.
CP visit details:
- Time at the true centre: 17:30 p.m.
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 10 minutes
- Distance to a track: 300 m
- Distance to a road: 700 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 10 m
- Distance to houses: 30 km
- Topography: mountainous..
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0.73 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 6 m
- GPS height: 2162 m
- Vegetation: deciduous woodland, agricultural fields nearby.
- Weather: sunny, 25° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In southern part of Gansu Province, in Dongxiangzu Autonomous County. In rough eroding loess area.
- Given Name: The True Center Confluence
Story continues at 36°N 104°E