14-Sep-2005 -- I set out by bike from Sanmenxia (34.784N, 111.185E) at 8:45 AM on September 14, 2005, immediately crossing the Yellow River to the north and beginning a long gentle ascent onto the loess plateau among spectacularly eroded landscapes covered in corn fields and orchards. At noon I reached the top of the mountain ridge (about 800 m above sea level), just before a breathtakingly steep descent to Miaoqian of about twenty minutes. From there it's all flat in a long bend around the north-east end of the salt lake making its turn in Peijie (38 km as the crow flies from Sanmenxia, 17 from the confluence). There are a lot of cotton fields in the plain besides corn, soy and fruit trees. Just before you reach the outskirts of Yuncheng there is a nice old pagoda (the 'South Sea Guanyin tower' just south of the road) next to a temple with a marble statue of the Boeddha.
The confluence is at an elevation of 316 m in the salt lake south of the center of Yuncheng, 390 meters from the north bank to be exact. However, you can walk or bike straight to it because of the system of dykes and mudpans that has been built into the lake for the industrial extraction of the salt. I reached it at 16:00 PM.
I spent the next few days in Yuncheng, which even to Chinese standards is a rapidly expanding boom town.
Scenic value, on a scale from 0 (square in front of the railway station of an industrial town) to 5 (fiercely protected temple on a volcano mountain top in Borneo): 0, unless you positively like filth. It is a place of singular ugliness: barren heaps of black slippery mud covered in dirty grey salt crusts with a backdrop of industrial wasteland dotted with tall chimneys belching smoke. It's not likely to become a major tourist attraction soon even though the lake is advertised as the 'Chinese Dead Sea'.
Difficulty of access, on a scale from 0 (square in front of the railway station of an industrial town) to 5 (fiercely protected temple on a volcano mountain top in Borneo): 0. Yuncheng is well connected to the rest of the world by just about any means of transportation except waterways and you can simply walk or take a cab to the confluence from the center.
The way to do this: go to Yuncheng in any way you like. Stroll over. Stay on high ground in the mudpans: the mud is treacherous.