06-Jul-2012 -- Story continues from 39°N 113°E.
I catch the 7 am bus from Dài Xiàn (代县) to Dàtóng Prefecture (大同市), arriving at 9 am. A helpful lady at the ticketing counter of the New South Bus Station (新南站) explains how I can get to Yǎ’éryá Township (雅儿崖乡): take a no. 1 commuter bus, and get off at the second-last stop, then people there will be able to help me with more directions.
While I’m on the no. 1 bus, a college student, who is just returning home from several years studying in Qīngdǎo (青岛市), initiates a conversation. His English name is Booker. He is very eager to help, and gets off at my stop, even though he is toting a large suitcase, and originally planned to get off at the last stop. After further seeking advice from his father via mobile phone, he soon has me on the bus bound for Yǎ’éryá.
I get off this bus shortly before it reaches Yǎ’éryá, at a turn-off I’d identified on Google Earth, with the confluence 3.2 km northwest. This turn-off is directly opposite a large public toilet, and the bus stops here to let the ticket seller relieve himself, so I don’t even have to raise any eyebrows by asking the bus to stop; I just simply slip out the door after him, and disappear up the side road.
Now follows an arduous climb in the hot sun, carrying my large backpack. I am tempted to hide it somewhere, and hope that it’s still here when I get back, but decide better of it.
I pass a rather large igloo-shaped tomb along the way. At least, I assume it’s a tomb. As I get higher and higher, the view back down to the main road becomes more and more spectacular. The air does not seem quite so polluted today.
Eventually I reach the crest of the hill, which has a road running along it. I cross this road, go past what looks to be a small electricity substation, and start descending towards the confluence. There are no crops planted in the poor soil here, although some sort of pea is growing wild.
Unlike the previous visitors, I am approaching this confluence from above, and find myself unable to get a GPS reading closer than 12 metres due to the sheer drop. Kudos to them for getting all the zeroes (at the expense of scratched legs, the confluencer’s badge of success). It is interesting to note the differences in the views to the north, south, east and west. Although mine are taken from a higher vantage point, theirs represent the true views from ground zero.
After documenting the point, it’s a short climb back up past the electricity substation, then a long downhill stretch back to the main road, from where I reverse the sequence of buses to get me back to the New South Bus Station.
The next bus to Shénchí County (神池县) does not leave until 6:50 am the next morning, so I find a hotel that has rooms available (the one opposite the bus station does not), have a shower, dinner, and an early night.
Story continues at 39°N 112°E.