01-Jun-2005 -- 30 N – 117 E Anhui (安徽), China
Visit Date: June 1, 2005
This is by far the most challenging line-hunting the group has done so far. We attempted this point twice with Du, the first-time hunter, who did the strenuous climb with street shoe.
The difficult approach of the last hundred meters through steep slop and dense forest cost us over an hours and a camera. It was such a difficult approach we decided to turn back when we were still 50 meters short from the actual ground zero.
The trip started in Huangshen city in Southern Anhui, and we were heading to Hefei, the capital. The route we have chosen added 80 km than the most direct route but will bring us close to 30N 117E and 31N 117E.
The road across southern Anhui was spectacular – misty mountains dotted with ancient villages. We actually had to go into Jiangxi province for about 20 km to get to the National Highway 206 heading north.
By 11 am, we reached a little village by the roadside name Lian Tian in Dong Zhe county, and the confluence point was exactly 1.1 km behind the village on or behind a small mountain.
We started off toward this densely wooded mountain by following a valley trail on the right side of the mountain. The trail was slippery and steep, and it took us almost 40 minutes of struggle to reach the upper part of the hill, and bring us to about 500 meters to the confluence point.
We spend 30 minutes and made two attempts to find a passable trail toward the point, but the bush and grass were too dense to push forward. Ray managed to climb up to the summit ridge and forge to 407 meters from the point before turning back.
We made it down to the village by 1 pm totally wet from our sweat and felt that we have gave our best shot, and accepted the fate of an incomplete visit
As we were washing up in the village by a house a nice lady in her pink pajama came out of the house. We inquired if there is another trail that can bring us closer to near the top of the mountain, and she indicated that the one we have taken was the only path up the hill. However, she told us that, there is a road behind the mountain may bring us close to it, and gave us direction how to find the road on the other side of the mountain range.
We decided to explore the road from the opposite side but did not count on getting much closer than we already have. The turn off was about 5 km further north on highway 206 from Lian Tian village, and the dirt road followed a river which parallel the mountain range. We followed the road down for 5 km and reached the nearest point right at a river band and again 1.1 km straight-line distance from the confluence point. We now on the opposite side of this mountain – we did not expect to get this close again, but on the wrong side of the river.
Even though we were somewhat beat up from the first attempt, but we decided to give another try, at least see how far we can go this second time around. It just so happen at this river band, there was a narrow wooden bridge across the 50 meters wide river. No excuse not to try.
There was a 10 household’s village on the other side of the river, and we followed the valley behind the village toward the confluence. We reached the bottom of the mountain with 350 meters to go. At which point, we left the more open valley and followed a narrow path alone a small creek coming down the “confluence mountain”. Looks like the back side of the mountain was the right approach after all.
The path alone the creek lasted about 200 meters and this put us 165 meters from the confluence point. The only way to go further up was going up the creek. One major complication at this point was the fact that the dense foliage made it hard to get a GPS reading to determine the right direction to go.
Ray scrambled 50 meters up the creek and reached the end of creek and found the distance to the confluence point now increased to 180 meters – a great effort to find out which is the wrong direction. The right direction is the right flank of the creek
The hill alone the creek is steep and hard to penetrate, but we figure if we can push another 70 meters up the hill we will be within the 100 meter radius of the confluence point. Even if we have to crawl, we can manage the 70 meters. Crawl we did.
A small drainage gully was the best option we have in going up from the hill. The 45 degree angle slope and lose dirt pretty much required us to pull on tree trunks or grass to inch our way up.
About half way up the slop, Ray kicked lose a brick size rock which tumble toward the climbers below and manage to hit Xiaoyu square on the stomach. Her camera took most of the blow and saved her from injury, but the camera was done for.
Eventually, Ray reached the summit ridge at a location about 80 meters away from the zero point. Further push alone the summit ridge was still difficult with the dense bush. Given this last 110 meters of climb and crawl has taken nearly an hour with a near miss of a major injury, the hunt stopped with 50 meters from the true zeros. This is the first line-hunting trip; we reached the 100 meter range but settled for less than perfect zeros.
Going back down this treacherous slope was not any easier than crawling up. We felt elated once we all safely reached down to the creek – the hardest 200 meters round trip journey was over. We were dirty, wet, and covered with all sort of debris and little bugs.
Slowly we walked out the valley and stopped by the nearest village had a chat with the local family. It was 4 pm when we cross the bridge – this 1.1 km (straight-line) journey took us almost 2 and half hours.
Dr. Ji who traveled with us but was smart not to join us for the climb had arranged a “late lunch” for the dirty hunters with a family in the village slightly down the road from the river band. We wolfed down the food and quaff beer as if we had not eaten in three days.
After lunch, we walked around the ancient village a little while and restated our trip to Hefei at 5 pm which was still 3 hours away. The consensus of the group was that, we have done our line hunting duty for the day and best to skip the next point - 31N-117E. Also there may not be enough day light left to complete the hunt.
The entire line-hunting effort took 6 hours, and we were very delighted that we manage to reach the rather hard-to-reach point by going up the same mountain twice from opposite directions.
A suitable name for this confluence point: “Tiger Hunting Mountain” as suggested by Dr. Du. It is a Chinese metaphor to equate tiger hunting to do a very difficult task.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 5– the last hundred meters took almost an hour and going up a hill on hands and knees (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4– Beautiful mountain areas dotted with ancient villages (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 4– over 5 hundred years of history of southern Anhui culture (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)