39 N – 111 E Shanxi(山西), China
Line Hunting Date: March 25, 2006
The Shanxi 39th parallel expedition
Shanxi province has a total of 14 confluence points - ranging from 35N to 40N. The province is relatively narrow with maximum 3 confluence points across from 36 N to 39N.
We set out to hunt for all 3 points along the 39N parallel in one weekend day, as part of our trip home from Inner Mongolia to Beijing. The journey actually started the evening before after we visited 40N 111E in Inner Mongolia. We did not get to the starting point in Shanxi which is the county near this confluence point because of a flat tire wasted two hours after the last hunt. We stopped for the night Bian Guan (扁关)
County just about half way between the two confluence points. This created some time pressure to hunt for the three points in one day.
Another confluence point in the middle of the Yellow River
We took off at 7 am and had a quick breakfast at road side and reached Bao De (宝德) county capital by the eastern bank of the Yellow River around 8.30 am. Across the river is the capital of Fu Gu (府谷) county of Shaanxi (陕西)Province. This confluence point located about 4.5 km south of the main bridge connecting two provinces.
We found a small road along the Yellow river on the Shanxi or eastern side and drove until 250 meters away from the confluence point. We could tell that this confluence point appears to be located on the Yellow River. The question was – is it close enough for us to get within 100 meters? A quick dash along the bank of the river and to our great relief, the confluence point was about 50 meters away. By getting to the very edge of the water, the final GPS reading was 46 meters from the all zero point.
This was the second confluence point we visited end up on the Yellow River. The previous one was 36N 102Ein Qinghai province which we had to reach by getting a ride on a raft. In contrast to the previous point at upper part of Yellow river where water was calm and almost clear. At this stretch of the Yellow River the water was truly yellow or muddy, and current was swift. Had this point located more than 100 meters from the shore, we would not have attempted to reach in view of the rather intimidating current.
A quick visit with the folks living in a nearby village we learned that the present river bank enforced with concrete and rocks was done a few years ago. Previously, the river bank was 200 meters further inland right next to the village. Without the new bank and land claim, this confluence point would have been 250 meters off the shore. We bid goodbye to the villagers and went for a quick drive across the river for a 10 minutes visit of the Shaanxi province before we headed east to our 2nd point on the 39th parallel.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – An easy drive up. (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 3– The Yellow River in its true form (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 2– Rural northern China setting (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)