10-Aug-2001 -- After a successful find at
N54° W109° we hoped to have the same luck here, our second confluence of the day. The town of Meadow Lake is the nearest settlement so we stopped for a quick tour, gas and refreshments. It would be 100 or so kilometers plus a confluence visit before we reached another town. The welcome sign promotes Meadow Lake as "Gateway to Pure Air and Water". North of Meadow Lake is Meadow Lake Provincial Park with more than 25 crystal clear lakes and rivers, campsites, cabin rentals, beaches, golfing, hiking, boating and fishing.
We headed off on the graveled grid road 799 towards Neeb. The ecoregion map in Atlas Of Saskatchewan shows this area as boreal transition. Signs along the road stated "Now Entering The Northern Forest". Along the road were some very nice farms situated in clearings in the boreal forest, some areas where logging was taking place in the northern forest, and areas with beautiful streams with wet meadows where moose or bears would possibly be spotted in the cool of the morning or evening. Neeb seemed to be just a name on the map. We never did see Neeb. There was road construction on a section of this road. A new road bed was being built up with a dangerous mixture of sand and rock. A few times we thought we'd ripped out the bottom of our van on one of the rocks! We made it safely through the construction and found the closest place to park along the road to find the confluence. It was the entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.
The confluence was 715 meters to the west. There was a grain field, then a pasture with cows grazing contentedly and in the distance some trees. It was easy to get through the barbed wire fence and walk along the length of another fence with grain growing on one side and forest on the other. Separating the grain field from the cow pasture was an electrified fence. We were able to crawl underneath without touching the fence. As with many people, the cows seemed curious about our mission. We walked through the pasture with startled grasshoppers hopping out of our way and cows staring at us. Then crossing over the piles of rock cleared from the land we discovered that the confluence would be in the trees. A careful walk through a muddy swampy area and we were in the trees.
After a circuitous route through the tangled branches, navigating a lumpy and damp forest floor with mosquitoes attacking us from every angle and big sticky spider webs and plant particles clinging to our legs and arms, we finally found all zeros on the GPS. It was difficult in the trees to get a good reading and Alan had to keep moving through, over and under tangled branches. I followed directly behind ready to get that photo before the zeros were lost again. A large bird nest was built in a tree at the confluence spot, possibly belonging to a crow. The views taken at the spot were very similar in each direction - trees! A photo shows the entrance into the trees. Although we'd walked much further through the tangled branches, the confluence ended up being only about 10 meters from the edge of the thicket of trees.
On the way out the curious cows came to stare at us. They stood there staring and posing for pictures. Many of them were heading off single file for the north end of the pasture but most stopped to take a look at us before moving along.
It was time for us to move along. We had many kilometers of gravel roads to travel before getting back to paved highways and