29-Aug-2005 -- 44N – 86E Xinjiang (新疆), China
Visit Date: August 29, 2005
This is the 3rd successful line-hunting trip in Xinjiang for the group with two first-time line-hunters.
Our trip started in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang and headed to Wusu, about 270 km straight west. The main expressway we took pretty much parallel the 44 N line, and the route would cross 87N, 86N, and 85N. We have two days for this trip, and a little detour to hunt for one or two confluence points seemed very feasible.
We set our eye on 44N-86E on our way going to Wusu. We left the expressway at Malashi, about halfway point of our trip. We took the secondary road heading south which has a full view of the snow capped Tianshen mountain range. It appears that the confluence about 35 km away located in the front range of Tianshen.
The scenic highway we took only brought us to the closest point 11 km east from the CP. We continued south and found another road north for a second try. This looping around, even though only about 40 km in distance took over 2 hours because of the winding and twisting road. However, the drive through the front range of Tienshen is more than spectacular.
Eventually the dirt road north brought us within 800 meters from the CP near the top of a not-so-flat plateau. We manage to drive off road through a grassy valley and a couple hills to exactly 200 meters from the CP. We were surprised how close we were able to drive to the CP, given this is a very remote area with only no other road within 10 km.
The CP located halfway down a gentle slope leading into a gully. As a result, the terrific view on top of the plateau was blocked.
On the way out, we found the nearest village from the CP, about 5 km away. This name of this semi-abandoned village is Shen-Ti-Zhe, and currently only three Kazak households still living there.
We made to Wusu around 5 pm, almost 4 hours behind the schedule. Fortunately, in Xinjiang, the office hour for the afternoon is from 4 to 8 pm. This gave us plenty time to complete most of the local site visit and meetings.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 2– a remote location but near a serviceable highway that was hard to find (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4– desert plateau with majestic mountain range in sight (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: not applicable – too remote to have any meaningful visit or nearby household (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)