20-Jun-2004 -- This is a continuation from 22°N 107°E and the
second of a four-confluence hunt made in Guangxi province by Targ Parsons and Peter Snow
Cao in June 2004.
On the second day we awoke at what was to be the pattern for the rest of the trip: 6
AM. This is because it is the usual time for Targ to get up during the week and on the
weekend. It was easier for me to conform than to try to sleep while he bustled around in
the morning; he is definitely a morning person. Another good reason to get going at that
hour is that one never knows what hiccups we will run into during the course of the hunt.
Our departure was for Tiandeng, a small town in western Guangxi. Unlike 22N 107E, this
one is not very close to the Vietnam, so we are not apt to run into any border
The 7:30 AM departure once again gave us time to get a quick breakfast at the local
noodle shop. The ride to Tiandeng cannot be described as anything but spectacular. Once we
moved away from the city of Nanning, the scenery almost immediately changed to picture
postcards of "pointy hills" as Targ was apt to call them. It seemed like riding
through Yangshuo area the whole way. Great scenery and good roads got me thinking how this
would make a terrific addition to the Bike China Adventures tour routes, and I made a note
to do some further research.
We arrived in Tiandeng and were shepherded to the connecting bus to where we intended
to start our hunt in earnest.
This time of year is litchi season and they can be seen for sale everywhere. Unlike the
litchi we get in Sichuan these are truly fresh off the tree and very sweet and juicy. The
price is dirt-cheap here.
Targ appears to run on air, but I require a fairly constant input of food to keep me
going. While we are waiting for our trawler bus to get rolling I picked a bunch of litchi.
As with all trawler buses in China, the start up gives one confidence that the trip will
be over in short order, but as soon as we go a few hundred meters, things slow down to a
crawl and we inch out of town.
Our next destination Longming is only 16 km south, but it took nearly an hour to get
there. Targ discovered that this village is at the crossroads of five farm-to-market roads
and a significant transshipment point to the area. As such there is plenty of transport
options to get s closer to our objective. We decide on a motor-trike-truck as the best
option and I chose patient looking driver to take us the 3 or so km to the CP. I tell him
that we cannot tell him the destination, but rather we will require him to follow our
directions to go straight, turn left or right or return the way we come. He quotes a price
at least double of what a trip of that distance would usually cost, but I readily agree
because I know that this sort of hunting around can be a bit uncertain, and I don't want him
to balk later when we are trying to make headway.
The road leading from Longming seemed to point directly to the confluence, however as
we got closer it became evident that the CP was up in the hills.
Along the way, I am always looking at the landscaped and wondering what I would do if
the confluence was there or there or over there! In this area there were karst hills
EVERYWHERE, and it seemed that it would be very likely for the CP to be on one of the
"pointy hills" as not and most of the them are quite steep making it difficult
or very dangerous to scale.
In this case, the closest we could get along the main road was 750 meters. We asked our
trike driver to go up the road a ways to see if there might be an easier approach. Then we
told him we wanted to go back behind the hills directly beside the road and he said there
was a small road he could show us. Here is where he was very helpful. He took us on a back
road that got us within 650 meters of the confluence, but the best part was the landscape
we were dropped into. Just fantastic! At the end of the road was a small tunnel in the
rock and we were completely surrounded by the karst hills. The elevation was 350 meters,
about 100 meters less than the what the DCP said the CP was at.
Targ immediately decided to change his Teva sandals for hiking boots, while I went to
investigate the approach options and marvel at the landscape we landed in. Every move we
made brought about a change in the landscape and the uniqueness of the hills were like eye
candy to us landscape lovers.
While climbing the hills were discovered we were not alone, a woman was quietly working
the field likely wondering about these strange aliens that invaded her space. She moved
off and we continued. The path led up a steep hill that forced us to stop on several
occasions to catch our breath. At one point the trees were painted with the symbol
"peace" on them, so we called them the Peaceful Trees. And sitting on that hill,
they were the epitome of peacefulness.
As we got closer, the CP started to diverge from the main trail and we found a small
cow path leading thankfully along the contour.
Within 100 meters the cow path disappeared and we were left to fend for ourselves as
the slope of the hills leading down to the CP fell precipitous down. The ground was
saturated and in parts the exposed soil was like ice. At one point, I fell hard and slide
down wrenching my already injured arm leading to a flurry of unprintable expletives.
We were able to locate our individual CPs (about a meter apart this time) nearby a flat
grassy area that would make an ideal camping spot. Regulatory photos and logging pertinent
details completed, we set down to enjoy a Snickers candy bar that I brought for the
occasion. Like Snickers, Confluencing really satisfies!
I christened this the "Krazy Karst Konfluence."
Coordinates: 23°N 107°E
Visit date: 20 June 2004
Visit time: 12:37 p.m.
Elevation: 528 metres
This story continues at 23°N 106°E.