I have been playing with my GPS for more than a year now. I am a frequent visitor to a famous Chinese Internet forum on cars and accessories. It is there that I have met a lot of friends who are using GPS's. We, as a group, go out often and love to discuss all sorts of things related to GPS. Once I came across an article on Confluence Project from a friend's web site, it sparked my interest. However, due to time constraint, I had not been able to go hunting for a spot until very recently. I finally had some free time to travel with a few of my Internet friends, and together, we found N41E118.
We started our journey at the dawn of December 21, 2003, Sunday. Our group has four people: GoldenAxeIronHorse, husband-and-wife duo INC and BlackCat (all web names), and I. We drove two Fukang cars away from Beijing, bringing with us five GPS's, of which two were borrowed from HabaSnowyMountain, an internet friend. We were planning to test and compare their performances. After more than 200km of driving, we arrived at Chengde, a city in Hebei province. Chengde is one of the tourists' magnets in China. It has the reputation of a summer resort. The city's famed palace once served as the getaway home for ancient emperors, who dreaded at the intense summer heat in Beijing. After having a brunch at a local restaurant, we continued driving towards the direction of N41E118, until a small village showed up, and there was no road leading to our destination. The GPS's showed that we were about 2.5km away from N41E118. We thought we could reach it quickly by foot; however, we learned later on that there was a mountain on our way. We had to hike up on the trailless, snow covered mountainside. Huffing and puffing, finally we reached the top. Now our destination was just approximately 1.5km away. However, watching from where we were to the direction of N41E118, there was still a deep valley to pass, and after that, another mountain. Exhausted as we were, it was very attempting to just give up. GoldenAxeIronHorse suggested that we should make a U-shaped route on the mountaintops to avoid the valley all together. It turned out to be a good idea as we approached N41E118 one step closer. When we stood on another mountain, we found out that there was another valley that led to N41E118, and a village named Hamashi (meaning toad rock) was inside the valley. A small road connected the village to an outside bigger road. Had we found the village on the map earlier, we could have driven to this valley right away, and we wouldn’t have had to pass the mountain that we just climbed. When we passed Hamashi, N41E118 was already very close to us, but we had to go through a pine forest and climb another mountain. By the time we reached the mountaintop, we were too tired to search for our target immediately, although the GPS showed we were mere 30m away from N41E118. After a little rest, we finally found N41E118. It was beside a pine tree on the sunny side of the mountain.
On our way back, we were so spent that we definitely couldn't take the same route that we came from. Since there was a way out of Hamashi, we went down the mountain to the village and along the road we walked away. After almost an hour, we finally saw a taxi from Chengde. But first the cab had to finish its journey to the village, and on its way back it took us four. Using the GPS, we navigated the driver to get us to the village where we parked our cars. It turned out that the cab actually made a half circle around the first mountain we had climbed earlier that day. We started the day at around 6 a.m., after having our dinner at Miyun county of Being, we returned to Beijing at about 9 p.m.
We are very glad that we have found N41E118. Although in the beginning we didn't know Hamashi village, therefore made an unnecessary detour, we are still very proud that we overcame the obstacle of mountains, and find N41E118 after climbing two of them. For us so called "office chair potatoes," it is obviously very beneficial to have chance like this to work out a little.
After we came back, we have put pictures and a summary of our trip on the Internet car forum. A lot of people are very interested. This weekend, a bunch of them are going to use GPS to hunt for N41E116.
(Translation by Weilan P.)