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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Maine

2.6 miles (4.2 km) E of Lexington, Somerset, ME, USA
Approx. altitude: 387 m (1269 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 45°S 110°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Looking east.  GPS at bottom center is the confluence point #3: Looking south, downstream #4: Snack time at the confluence #5: Snowshoeing over the crest of a hill with the Western Mountains in the background #6: The GPS reading 45 N 70 W

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  45°N 70°W  

#1: Looking north along a snowy stream bed

(visited by David Manthey, Reb Manthey and Skye)

17-Mar-2001 -- This weekend I visited my sister, Reb, and her dog, Skye. They live up near Augusta in a cool geodesic dome. On Saturday we got in my sister's truck and drove west fifty miles to go for a snowshoe to 45°N 70°W. The drive is pleasant, with views of Maine's Western Mountains, frozen rivers, and delightful trees. We turned off onto a dirt road and drove a mile or so to where our maps showed a logging road leading toward the confluence. The truck was parked near a pasture with a horse who watched us curiously. We were a mere 2.1 miles west-southwest from the confluence, and the weather couldn't have been better.

Snowshoes were a necessity. The snow ranged from deep to extremely deep. Certainly it was deeper than our hiking poles, which are around 4 feet long. The surface ranged from crusty and hard enough to support our weight to soft and mushy. The snow was wet and heavy, which made for very arduous travel.

We started on the logging road, which was fairly broad. Very shortly the road went UP, climbing 800 feet in perhaps twice as much distance. With the wet snow, this was very tiring. Skye, being a husky, wanted to be in front, but she kept sinking up to her chest in the snow. She eventually accepted that she had to let the humans break trail for her. Behind us was an amazing view of the mountains, which we stopped to enjoy often, it being a good excuse to catch our breath. The road initially headed too far to the south, but a side road turned in the desired direction.

For the first mile or so, the snow was pristine, with our footprints being the first since the last few big snowfalls. As the big hill leveled off, we encountered a set of snowshoe tracks heading in from the south. We were both fearing and hoping that it was another confluence hunter. His tracks staggered about a bit as if he was very tired.

The three of us stopped for lunch at a log landing. The GPS and compass claimed that the confluence was to the northeast, while the road continued to the northwest. We could see the other snowshoe tracks leading down the road and turning off to the west; they were not of a fellow confluence hunter.

After lunch we started down a skidder trail leading in the correct direction. This soon vanished and we began a bushwack through deeper snow and up a steep slope. The trees abounded with song birds. Throughout the entire trip we had been seeing all sorts of tracks, including rabbit, weasel, deer, and moose. Here in the woods we found moose sign, and came across a moose yard (where the moose spend the night). We clambered up the hill, which was an enormous effort, especially for Skye who had to leap between successive snowshoe prints.

At the top of the rise was another log landing. I had been breaking trail but got stopped by a downed tree buried three feet or more in the snow. Reb took over for a while, and we got up to the landing. The landing could have been reached via logging roads, which would have been longer in distance, but much less in time and effort.

We continued on the logging road. The ice crust on the snow would break up as we punctured through it, sending ice skittering across the sun-glazed frozen surface and dropping down the side slope. A short descent followed, leaving us a mere 0.08 miles from the confluence.

To actually reach the confluence we had to wander through the woods, but this was comparatively level (even if we were crossing some small streams), so was pleasant. We meandered about a bit, finding 45°N 70°W along a small stream in some delightful woods. We stopped for photographs and cookies. It had taken us three and a half hours to get to the confluence, having covered a little over three miles.

The return was vastly easier, being mostly downhill and almost all on broken trail. At long last the truck came into sight. The total round trip took six hours. We were very tired and hungry.


 All pictures
#1: Looking north along a snowy stream bed
#2: Looking east. GPS at bottom center is the confluence point
#3: Looking south, downstream
#4: Snack time at the confluence
#5: Snowshoeing over the crest of a hill with the Western Mountains in the background
#6: The GPS reading 45 N 70 W
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)