16-Jul-2010 -- This is the third out of eight confluence reports with six attempts being successful during a bicycle tour through Yúnnán. The trip starts from 25°N 102°E.
It took me five long days of mountain-biking in order to reach this confluence, coming from 25°N 101°E, which is located just 100 km further east by beeline. This is actually a new record – under normal conditions I can reach a confluence each day. But in Yúnnán, the river valleys are deep and the road network makes one deviate enormously. I should also mention that I carried my bike over pedestrian mountain trails, which certainly slowed down my advance.
There was even one day, when I ended up being further away compared to where I started in the morning. How was this possible? Let me tell you the story:
In order to reach this confluence I had to cross the Yàngbì River (漾濞江), a “confluence” of Mekong River (Láncāng 澜沧江). Local people told me that there has recently been built a nice new road that wasn’t on my map. Since I usually listen to advices from the locals, I took this road. It took me over a huge mountain range – first climbing 1000 m in height and then descending it all again. I was wondering why they had built such a nice road in the middle of nowhere – until I found out: it led to a huge hydropower dam. The thoroughfare did exist, but unfortunately, restricted to residents and power plant employees. So, I had to return all the way, climb another 1000 m up – but then the nightfall forced me to find an overnight place before I was even able to reach my previous overnight place.
The next day, this story almost would have repeated: I tried to cross the Yàngbì River further north and descended 1000 m again – until people told me the bridge was flooded after filling the artificial lake and all through traffic is now deviated by a detour of 200 km! Fortunately, there was a pedestrian ferry that could take me and my bicycle.
Finally, on day number ten of the tour I started in the early morning from the village Shīlǐ (诗礼乡) to attack the confluence point. This village is located indescribably remote and can only be accessed after climbing several mountain passes. It is 10 km beeline distance from the confluence point, but it is another 40 km to the confluence following a mountain track. For me, this would have required another day of severe mountain biking (inclusive return 80 km). So, I decided – as an exception – to take the lazy option and hire a motor-bike (please don’t tell anybody about my embarrassing laziness).
The motor-bike taxi picked me up in my hotel in Shīlǐ and we rode on this little track to a village called Wǔwěi (武伟). Here, I measured 1.1 km beeline distance, but another track allowed us to approach the confluence up to 130 m. Here, we parked the motor-bike and climbed upwards in a pine forest. There were some tombs in 30 m distance. Every tree in the forest has some cuts in the bark with a collecting tray below. This is to obtain resin.
At 10 a.m. we were already back in Shīlǐ – enough time to get me out of the hinterland and reach the next town Fèngqìng (凤庆县).
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 10 km
- Distance to a road: 1.1 m
- Distance to a footpath: 130 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 190 m
- Distance to houses: 1 km
- Time starting the hike: 8:35 a.m.
- Time at the CP: 8:43 a.m.
- Riding time (distance) from Shīlǐ: 1 hour (40 km)
- Measured height: 1701 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Topography: At a steep grade high above the river Yàngbì.
- Vegetation: pine forest.
- Weather: sunny, 17° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: On Yúnnán’s central high plateau. Located extremely remote.
- Given Name: The Resin Catching Confluence
Story continues at 25°N 99°E.