08-Feb-2009 -- We knew that all the confluence points in New Brunswick had been found, but my buddy Dave had an idea: Grand Lake in winter.
On February 8th conditions were just right and we headed out. Dave Salisbury, Tony Stright and his dog Tylah and me. We let my Garmin Nuvi select a route that would bring us as close by road as we could get to the point, from which we would hike. Unfortunately, the GPS can't tell when roads have been cleared! We ended up hiking 1.5 km to the lake's edge (near Cox Point) and a further 1.5 km to the confluence point, armed with two Garmin handhelds: a Legend Cx and the Venture Cx owned by my wife.
Tony had the foresight to bring snowshoes, Dave and I had hiking poles, thinking we'd be walking glare ice. Tony ended up breaking trail, not helped by the fact that he was just recovering from the flu. There was snow sometimes up to our knees until the last 50 meters or so from the shore, which was up to our waists. I broke trail to the shoreline and we checked the integrity of the ice. We spotted a pressure ridge about 150 meters offshore, so we spread out and tied each other off along a 120 ft length of rope. The ice was solid, but there was a layer of snow over slush that made for slow going. It ended up taking us 3 exhausting hours to complete the round trip.
It was a good thing we had two cameras and my cellphone (I called my wife from the middle of the lake) because my old digital camera took its last photo that day. Between the cell camera and Dave's faithful 35mm we managed to document our visit. Both GPS units were reading dead on at the confluence with 3 to 4 meters accuracy. We rewarded ourselves with a hearty meal at JJ's diner in Sussex on the way back to Moncton, tired but triumphant.