To the Yellow River source – Beating the misleading signs

Setting out from Maduo we first came to this Bull’s Head statue with the inscription underneath explaining it is a monument to the Yellow River source.

Fifty 50 meters away a stone marker even pretends you are actually there and just says: ‘Yellow River source’.

That source though is still more than 200 kilometers away. Who could be fooled into believing he is at a river source here? These markers are high on a hill between two lakes making for a beautiful viewpoint but there is no spring, no brook, no water running down from here.

We moved on. I kept track of where we were and how far we had to go by means of kilometer markers. Their numbers went up until 108, but then started counting down from 222, then became unreadable. There was only this dirt road though, so it couldn’t be we lost our way.

We stayed overnight at Maduo – not to be confused with the earlier Maduo. This one is much smaller and though transcribed in western alphabet the names seem identical, written in Chinese characters the two are different.

Soon after leaving the next morning we came to a junction with this sign.

We turned left. 41 kilometers to go. Or was it? No useful map, paper or digital, exists of this region. But I had entered the coordinates of the river’s source in my GPS and it gave me the distance to our destination as the crow flies. I soon became suspicious. We got closer – but very slowly. We ran into another car after about 15 kilometers, a fortunate coincidence in these empty parts, and asked the driver. We should have turned right.

It took a bit of a headache to work this out. But this sign is exactly correct when turned 90 degrees right. By which I mean either turn the sign including its poles right (in a horizontal way), or leave the poles where they are and turn just the sign on top of them (in a vertical way). If you can still follow.

Next post: was this final sign correct? And did we reach the river’s source?

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