31-Jul-2008 -- This is the 19th out of 23 confluences that I visited on my bicycle trip to the North-East of China. The story starts from 40°N 117°E. The previous confluence was 53°N 123°E.
After staying the night in Tǎhé (塔河县), I continued my bike trip further south. Again, I started with the first daylight and had a pleasant ride along a mountainous road until I reached the town Cuìgǎng (翠岗) for a late breakfast – or should I better say ‘break-feast’? Having ridden 72 km, I had so many different dishes that the waitress had some trouble to figure out my bill.
Cuìgǎng is, with its 21 km distance, the last inhabited place before entering the huge area of forested hills. These 21 km beeline distance (30 km by road) meant riding into a dead end for me, so including the return I was prepared to ride about 60 km on minor forest tracks. I had a little trouble to get out of Cuìgǎng – in particular because I couldn’t define a clear destination when asking locals for directions. Best is to ask for Fùlín (富林). Finally I made it across a bridge on a road that pointed in the right direction. But on the other side, a barrier with guards was set up in order to control the road. Again I was prepared to argue with the guards and may get refused to enter the deep forest. But this time nothing happened. Either they hadn’t seen me cycling under the barrier or it was OK to enter anyway.
So, I could set off and rode on peaceful forest roads. No traffic had been on the road, not a single house along my way. I was very glad to have a full stomach. 1.5 hours later, I reached the confluence – much quicker than I had expected. From the road, it was only 260 m to the exact location. As usual, I hid my bike behind a bush and started hiking. I don’t want to bore the reader with boggy stories with the main theme being mosquitoes. But I guess this is what to expect in northern forests: swamps and lots of flying unwelcome insects.
I progressed slowly – always downwards a hill with the ground becoming more and more boggy and uneven as I approached the confluence. Every step was a little adventure – not knowing how deep I would sink into the ground. Finally, I reached a rapid river that would have been difficult to cross. But I had just reached the confluence. Since my goal lay on this side of the river, there was no need to cross it. I made a hasty documentation due to my flying friends and rushed off again – however rushing is impossible while squelching through morass.
My way back was uneventful – I took the same route back. At one o’clock I was back in Cuìgǎng . After having a big lunch (the mosquitoes had taken all my energy, I guess) I continued my trip further south and stayed the night in a tiny place called Dàwūsū (大乌苏镇). Well, before I reached Dàwūsū I got caught in a thunder storm, had two times a flat tyre and a couple spokes broken as well, but this is another story.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 22 km
- Distance to a road: 263 m
- Distance to a track: 263 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 260 m
- Distance to houses: 20 km
- Time for hiking: 45 minutes
- Time at the CP: 10:05 a.m.
- Riding time (distance) from Tǎhé: 4:23 hours (71.9 km)
- Measured height: 515 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Topography: mountainous, but CP in the bottom of a wide valley
- Vegetation: larch and birch forest, bushes, high grass.
- Weather: sunny, 22° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the northern part of Hēilóngjiāng, in the Dàxìngānlǐng Forest, in the district of Hūmǎ, Area of Xīnlín and rural district of Cuìgǎng (大兴安岭地区呼玛县新林区翠岗镇). Deep in the forest in a little valley on boggy ground.
- Given Name: The Mosquito Creek Confluence
Story continues at 51°N 124°E.