03-Apr-2004 -- 28 N – 109 E Guizhou, China
Visit Date: April 3, 2004
First confluence visit of Guizhou Province completed by the Yip-Bannicq Group - only Ray Yip of the group went out for this hunt, together with Dr. Wang Dao Jun of the Song Tao County Disease Control Center of the Guizhou Province.
The Guizhou province is a mountainous province located in South Central China. There are a total of 17 confluence points in Guizhou, and 28N-109E is located in the northeast corner of Guizhou in Song Tao county which is adjacent to Chongqing and the Hunan province.
Song Tao County is part of the Tong Ren prefecture, and Ton Ren city is the only town in Guizhou that can be reached by flying other than the capital city Guiyang. It so happened I was invited to a conference in Ton Ren, and when I looked up the map before the trip, the nearest confluence point appears to be within striking distance.
During the conference, I met Dr. Wang who grew up in the Song Tao area and he volunteered to take me to the town near the confluence point after the workshop. An offer I was hoping for.
From Tong Ren city, the air distance is 33 km, we had to make a circle, almost 75 km by road to the nearest location before abandoning the car. On more than half the distance we covered the road was under reconstruction so it was very slow going – it took us 3 and a half hours to complete the 75 km journey.
The location we got off the car was just slightly over 1000 meters (air distance) from the point, and I thought, this would turn out to be an easy hunt. Wrong! Nothing is predicable when it comes to line-hunting.
After we went over the first hill from the highway it was clear that the confluence point was located way up the mountain and there was a substantial cliff facing us. It took almost an hour to find one small trail after another to get around the steep part of the mountain. The last trial was able to bring us to about 50 meters from the point. The last 50 meters required the climbing of solid rocks mixed with tall grasses on a 50-degree slope. This scrambling was great fun.
The point turned out to be located about 50 meters below the tallest peak of the entire area. The peak was about a 500 meters vertical elevation from where we started walking. The view at the point was spectacular, except there was little room to move around perched on the exposed rocky confluence point. The final “1000 meters” took us a good hour and a half! The name of this mountain we almost went to the top is Zhu Sha Bao.
On the way down, we passed through the nearest village from the point, called Tien Tong Bao, which means “Heavenly Slope” in Chinese. This little village of 20 households appears to be very old judging from the remaining stone façade of some of the houses, and I found a nearby tomb, which had a date of the early part of the Qing dynasty (~ 1600’s).
On the way, I was able to buy a local bamboo made backpack which is used by almost everybody in the countryside as shown in Photo10 of four young men going out of the village with us. When I walked through the Beijing airport with my newly acquired bamboo backpack on my back, everyone seemed to look at me like I came from another planet.
Many thanks to Dr. Wang for hosting the visit to his home county and for being a great line-hunting partner. He is as pleased as I am that we were able to do the first confluence visit of the Guizhou province on a beautiful spring day.