05-Nov-2005 -- 36 N – 102 E Qinghai (青海), China
Visit Date: November 5, 2005
After an easier than expected hunt of our first confluence point in Qinghai– 37N 102E – we were tempted for another hunt on our last day there. The only catch was that, we only had a few hours to our disposal because we had to be at Xining airport by 2 pm to catch the flight to Beijing.
We checked out the hotel by 7.30 am and headed to Jen Zha County about 90 km away where this confluence point is located. According to the latest Qinghai map, this confluence point is located very near the famous Yellow River – the second longest river of China, and regarded as the origin of Chinese civilization.
The greatest concern we had as we were heading toward this confluence point was, which side of the Yellow River this point was actually located. If it was on the same side as the highway we were on, than this would be a very feasible hunt. If it was on the “other side” of the river, we would be pinched for time.
This turned out to be a brilliant day for line hunting with fall colors at their peak and great sunshine. We reached Qun Ke Township little after 9 am and this put us about 2.5 km from the object of our hunt. At this point, we still could not tell which side of the river the confluence point was actually located.
South of the township we found a road heading toward the Yellow River and we were able to drive to 100 meters from the river bank. We went into a house overlooking the river and found out that the confluence point was 1.5 km up river
, and the best we could tell it appeared to be on our side of the river. In the family we visited all the women and children were dressed up and just about to go out to visit relatives except the father who had gone fishing on a raft about half an hour before our arrival.
We went back on the main highway and backtracked about 1 km and found another road leading toward the Yellow River. We abandoned the jeep in a village when we were 650 meters away from the confluence point. The small footpath led us down the bluff and we reached the flood plane of Yellow River. We followed the GPS to the water edge and found this point still 250 meters away.
It turned out this point was located right in the middle of the Yellow River!
About 300 meters to our right there was a lone raft with a fellow rowing it. We couldn’t help wondering if this could be the fellow from the house we had just visited about 1.5 km down river. Clearly, he was our only hope to reach the confluence point. We called out to him and requested his help to row us across the river – it was easier than explaining that we wanted to go to a point on the river. He agreed to ferry us for a small fee.
The small raft could accommodate two more people. Button and Ray took their shoes off and rolled up their pants and waded through the shallow water with deep muck to reach the approaching raft. The water was icy cold; swimming to the confluence point was out of question, or at best a one-way trip.
On the raft, we found out that, Mr. Hong, the rafter, indeed was the father of the household we had just visited at our first stop by the river bank. What a coincidence! He was fishing a type of white fish which fetch good money at the local market.
It took less than 10 minutes for us to cover the 250 meters to reach the confluence point right before 11 am. We did not get a perfect zero reading, but we could not ask for more. This confluence point is located about 150 meters from the other bank.
Of interest was that, the high plateau of Qinghai is where the Yellow River originates. At this upper reach of the Yellow River, the color of the river is actually bluish green and quite clear. Unlike the lower part which it is indeed muddy yellow. From this confluence point, the river still has more than 2000 km to go before reaching the ocean. Our previous visit to 37N 119E in Shandong province was very near where the Yellow River enters the ocean.
We visited another home at the village where we had parked our jeep. The name of the village nearest to the confluence point is An Da Chi Ha which is part of Qun Ke Township of Jen Zha County. The residents here are either Muslim, of the Hui minority or Tibetan.
We had a quick lunch at a road side restaurant in Qun Ke Township before heading to the Xining airport. We reached the airport exactly an hour before our departure time.
We felt very fortunate to have reached the 2nd confluence point of Qinghai. It was a beautiful day and the fact we had been able to reach the point located in the middle of the Yellow River with limited time, had made this line-hunting trip extra special.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 4 – Middle of the river with very few boats in sight (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4 – Great mix of fall colors on dirt bluff and green river (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 4 – A Muslim area with festive mood at the end of Ramadan (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)