11-Jul-2011 -- Here begins a series of three incomplete visits that are part of my bicycle trip along the Great Wall of China. The story starts at 41°N 115°E. The previous report is 38°N 107°E.
After I had spent a great weekend with Elionora who visited me during my stay in Yínchuān, I continued cycling towards north-west and stayed the first night in the ugly coal town Chónggǎng (崇岗镇), 25 km south-east from the confluence. The next day I climbed from 1100 m to 2300 m altitude into the Hèlán Mountains (贺兰山). In this area, coal mining is carried out intensely, which had an impact on the road traffic (coal trucks), landscape (quarries) and the air (dust).
At a distance of 4.5 km from the confluence, I left the public road near the village Èrdào Lǐng Gāchá (二道岭嘎查). There is the entrance to a valley from where the confluence can be reached without climbing over any mountain pass. So I followed the valley on a track. Not far from the entrance of the valley, there was a post with a barrier. Since there was nobody, I simply passed by with my bicycle and continued cycling deeper into the valley. The valley is beautiful like an oasis with green grass and trees in the otherwise quite desert-like environment. At the distance of 3.7 km however, there was another post signposted with ‘Central administration of the inspection post of Gānshùwān (古拉本中心管理站，甘树湾管护占)’. Here, two friendly staff told me that this valley is a protected area and that it would be impossible for me to continue. Permission could only be given by the main office in Ālāshàn Zuǒqí (阿拉善左旗). I was invited to drink and eat (I guess such an outpost rarely gets visitors) and when saying farewell, they gave me 10 yogurt drinks and 1 kg of bread on my way.
So now I was equipped well with food, but not with a successful confluence visit. I certainly didn’t try to attack the confluence anymore in order to keep my promise but generally it should be possible to hike to the point coming from the road 314 (i.e. from north-west).
I continued the bike trip 100 km further north-west into the desert and stayed the night in the remote village Hātúhūdūgé (哈图呼都格) and stayed the night there.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 4.5 km
- Distance to a track: 950 m (taken from Google Maps)
- Distance of parking the bike: 3.7 km
- Distance to houses: 3.7 km
- Time starting the hike: none
- Time at the point of return: 11:53 a.m.
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 3.77 km
- Topography: mountainous area, confluence located 1 km from the main valley up in the mountains in about 2532 m altitude.
- Weather: mostly sunny, 33° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: 31 km beeline north-east of the town Ālāshàn Zuǒqí (阿拉善左旗) in the Autonomous Region Inner Mongolia, in the Hèlán Mountains.
- Given Name: The 10 Yoghurt Drinks Confluence
Story continues at 40°N 105°E.