19-Oct-2004 -- This is the 29th out of 29 confluence visits on our tour from Germany to China, the story continues from 30N 103E.
After the incomplete visit of the Ya'an confluence 30N 103E I flew to Beijing and stayed in the house of my parents-in-law near the Chao-Yang Gate in central Beijing. The nearest confluence was a bee-line distance of 37.5 km away.
I was able to persuade my father-in-law Xin Chen to join in. He is always up for interesting things he's never done before. So we both went off at 9 o'clock, not before we have had a look at Beijing's public transportation lines. We walked to the Chaoyangmen Underground Station, took the Circle Line and then changed to the Western Line Underground to the terminal stop at Pinguoyuan (= Apple Yard). From here it was still another 16 km to go. We took a bus towards the confluence, but at a distance of 9 km it turned away from the direction we needed to go toward a place named Chengzi and we had to go back a couple of stops.
Of course it wasn't easy for us to explain the bus drivers where we wanted to go by telling them that we wanted to get 9 km further northwest. We found out that bus No. 929 would be best suitable for us, so we waited for the bus to come. But when the bus hadn't shown up after 40 minutes, we decided to take a taxi. We shared it with two women who also had been waiting for the No. 929 bus.
Now an Odyssey began. The two women got out soon, but we started cruising around. The problem was that the winding roads followed the curvy rivers between the mountains. It is impossible to predict where you will end up. It was not very smart not to bring a map and look at confluence.org before to see what previous visitors had to say about this confluence.
Finally, with our taxi driver already being very happy due to a large fare, we came as close as 400 m to the confluence point near the village Xiaweidian. We let the taxi-driver pull onto a gravel track. This brought us steeply upwards to a quarry, but not nearer to the CP. We turned back and parked the car at a distance of 320 m from the point. We decided that I will run to the confluence alone, because according to the steep grades it looked like a challenging hike. I promised to be back in about 15 minutes and went off on a little footpath. Soon, I realized that I had underestimated the difficulty of getting there. The hike was by far longer the 320 m and a couple times I lost the track, making my way through dense vegetation. I reached the point about 100 m after I had climbed a little mountain. It is in a pretty forest with the leaves turning red at that time of the year.
At a distance of 5.46 m I found a plastic bottle containing a note left behind from a previous visitor of the confluence on 14-Feb-2004 (not documented at confluence.org). I followed my strict rule that says 'don't change anything', thus put the bottle back were it was, took the pictures and ran back to the car.
We reached our home at 3:30 p.m. after having been on the road for 6.5 hours! This has been the longest time for a confluence hunt for me so far. When we reached home, my niece came back from school and played a song for me.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 13:30 a.m.
- Duration: 6 h 30 min (until we were back home)
- Distance of taxi parking: 320 m
- GPS height: 304 m
- Description: In the western, unpopulated part of Beijing. In steep, forested mountains. At the spot dense vergetation and scubland. Beautiful views around. Great place to escape Beijing's business.
- Given Name: The Hidden Bottle Confluence
Story started at 42N 26E.