28-Apr-2006 -- 30N – 94 E: Linzhi (林芝) Prefecture, Tibet
Line Hunting Date: April 28, 2006
A Bonus Point from a Detour
Our trip from Lhasa to Linzhi gave us an opportunity to hunt for 30N 93E knowing that particular point was very near the road we were traveling. We did not expect to hunt for another point during this 3-days trip. But an unexpected turn of event led us to reach another confluence point. In essence, this was a bonus point. The best part of it was the fact that this point located in an area with spectacular scenery.
A sightseeing detour became a line-hunting expedition
One of the major tourist attraction near Linzhi area is an alpine lake known as Basomtso. During our return drive to Lhasa, Yuzhen, the only native Tibetan of the party, who has traveled extensively in Tibet revealed that she has never been to this lake – a hint for a visit. Everybody thought it would be a good idea to take a couple hours to drop by this famous lake since our only goal of the day was to get back to Lhasa. As we took the side road off highway 318 toward Basomtso, a routine check of GPS gave us a pleasant surprise - the electronic map of the GPS indicating that a confluence point very near the south shore of the lake. Suddenly, this excursion to a famous lake took on greater significance. The hunt is on!
First attempt for the confluence point
One major bonus of hunting for this confluence point was the chance to explore the entire length of this 14 km long lake. Most visitors only stop by the eastern end of the lake using well paved road to visit a nunnery on an island. As our first attempt to reach this point, we traveled the entire length of southern shore. The road beyond the island stop was unpaved and very rough. Fortunately we had a four wheel drive jeep able to manage the treacherous road. About 10 km up the lake shore, we reached the nearest point to the confluence point - about 1.2 km away. Approaching from this lake shore location would be a major undertake required several hours to go over a densely wooded slope and we were not prepared for a strenuous bushwhack. It was not a difficult decision to give up the hunt. A few photos were taken in order to file an incomplete report. We continued onward to the western end of the lake.
The exploration of the Basomtso Lake
Even though the drive along the lake shore was a tedious one, but it offered us the chance to appreciate the wonder of Basomtso. There were plenty of different types of wild azalea in full bloom, and most the trees were covered with long and silky moss. A number of snow peaks can be seen across the lake. The western end of the lake was a real surprise with a kilometer long fine sandy beach, like that of a tropical island. There were a couple log cabins there and we had a lunch break and nice visit with the lady of the house. Thanks to the effort of line hunting we discovered a truly spectacular lake which most tourists not able to appreciate.
Not giving up easily – 2nd attempt for the confluence point
As we worked our way back along the lake, we reached a township called Cuo Kao
where the road started turning away from the lake, We noticed a road leading toward the direction of the confluence point – about 2 km of GPS distance. A short drive on that road found a locked gate blocking our passage. As we turned away from the confluence point the 2nd time, we passed a small wooden house on the road side with a sign indicating it is a logging inspection station. Ray approached the attendant and see how we can gain access to this gated road. Without a word, the attended handed over a key.
A sweet confluence point – reached on the third try
We headed toward the confluence point the third time. After we passed the locked gate we were able to drive within 90 meters from the confluence point. This confluence point located below the logging road on the flat part an open valley not too far from a river. The entire party reached the all-zero point this time. We were grateful to Yuzhen for proposing the visit to the Basomtso. It is also great that a Tibetan now visited one of the confluence points in Tibet. Given this was an unplanned hunt, and we had to turn away twice to settle for an incomplete visit, reaching the point made it all that extra special. What truly special about this confluence point is the stunning mountains and lake nearby – one of the more stunning view in a land with many spectacular areas.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – a drive-up once the right road was found (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 5– Basomtso and surrounding area is truly an outstanding combination of 6000 meter peaks and pristine alpine lake (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3- rural Tibetan village nearby (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)