14-Oct-2002 -- Following my successful visit to 27°N 120°E the previous day, I spent a very comfortable night in a hotel in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, and was well rested and recuperated as I set off at 7:15 a.m. on what turned out to be yet another gloriously warm autumn day. I made my way via commuter bus to Fuzhou's West Bus Station, 26 kilometres east-northeast of the confluence, then caught the next available bus to Yongtai.
Yongtai lies 16 kilometres from the confluence in the opposite direction, to the south-southwest, but is a necessary waypoint on the approach to this confluence, which took me on a roughly spiral-shaped journey in a clockwise direction. Yongtai is a reasonably-sized city, renowned for its dried persimmons, which I saw being sold by roadside vendors everywhere as I strolled around killing time, waiting for my next bus.
My next bus was from Yongtai to Danyun, and departed at 10 a.m. At 11:20 a.m., I disembarked at a small village called Beiyuan, only 400 metres from the confluence. I walked back down the road to where it was closest to the confluence, a mere 200 metres away. Leaving the road, I crossed some recently harvested, terraced rice paddies, on which goats and ducks were now grazing, then scrambled up a hillside, eventually reaching the top just 40 metres from the confluence. I was able to force my way the necessary remaining distance down the opposite slope, shoulder deep in ferns, to reach the exact spot of the confluence (elevation 592 metres), from where I took the obligatory documentary photographs facing north, south, east and west, and even turned the camera upon myself for a shot amongst the sea of ferns. I took a sample of this fern back home with me to Hong Kong, which the Hong Kong Herbarium subsequently identified as most likely being Dicranopteris pedata (commonly known as mangji in Chinese). It is very prevalent throughout southern China, and nowhere more so than at 26°N 119°E.
I made my way back up to the top of the hill, and was just starting my descent back to the road when I almost walked straight into a gigantic spider the size of my hand! He was just hanging there in mid air. I'd been so concerned about what things might be lurking unseen around my feet (thorn bushes, snakes?), that I'd totally neglected to keep an eye on what was going on right in front of my face!
The spider scare over, I continued on, looking for an easier way down than the way I'd originally come up. My new route afforded me an excellent view of the village of Beiyuan. I eventually emerged back onto the road just as the same bus that I had earlier caught from Yongtai was once more passing through Beiyuan, on its return journey from Danyun. There was no waiting this time!