28-Jul-2003 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer from Colorado USA, along
with fellow confluence hunters Lilia, Emily, and Janell
Kerski, pilgrimaged to Latitude 37 degrees North,
Longitude 77 degrees West in southeastern Virginia USA.
As I would be attending the
Digital Library in Earth
Systems Education conference in Colorado the
following week, a confluence visit seemed like
the perfect prelude to working with earth systems
scientists and educators.
After taking the James River Ferry south from historic
Jamestown, Virginia, we drove south along State
Highway 31 through beautiful Virginia countryside
to just south of Dendron. We crossed from Surry
to Sussex County, turning west on Owens Grove Road
(County Road 604). After turning south onto
Spring Hill Road (County Road 603), we parked at
a driveway that leads to the farmhouse that we
had determined would require the minimal amount
of trekking through forest. We parked the car
on 37 North Latitude. This house was to the
north of the houses visited by the previous
visitor. We reached the farmhouse at approximately
1020 am local time.
After walking up the driveway, we found nobody at
home. Wishing to set a good example for my
children who were with me, I found myself in a
moral dilemma about the next step to take. We
decided to leave the request for access letter near
the front door and to continue in our confluence
quest. After heading north around the house, and
fortunately finding no unfriendly dogs, we walked
due west at 100 meters north of 37 North Latitude.
This was a scenic hike along the edge of a peanut
field. This part of Virginia is famous for history,
peanuts, and ham. The soil here is quite white
and sandy and we made sure not to step on any
of the plants, which were about 1/3 meter high.
After leaving the outbuildings behind, a thick
forest was now on our left (south). It was a
fine midsummer day, temperature already near 30
degrees C, and not a cloud in the Virginia sky.
We had almost reached the western edge of the
field when we crossed 77 West Longitude. The
latitude here is 37.00117 North. After taking
several photographs and a movie, I plunged alone
into the forest.
The 100 meter forest hike due south to the confluence
required 20 minutes, due to the thickness and thorny
nature of the vegetation. In the midst of getting
scratched by holly leaves and tough vines, I spotted
a magnificent turtle, about 25 cm in diameter. Soon
after leaving the turtle behind, while marveling at
the thickness of the vegetation compared to my home
state of Colorado, I reached the confluence at close
to 11 am local time.
The confluence lies on level ground, in forest that
was not quite so thick as that I had passed through,
comprised of loblolly pine trees, sweetgum, red maple,
and magnificent oak trees that frequently stand over
30 meters high. The confluence is 100 meters south
of the planted field and about 500 meters west of
the farmhouse. After taking the photographs and movie,
and pausing in the stillness of the trees, I hiked
out exactly the way I had entered, reaching the
field but not seeing the turtle, and making a hasty
trek along the field edge back to the farmhouse. I
knocked again at the front door, but finding nobody
home, I walked down the driveway to rejoin my
companions at approximately 1120 am. We left the
area, driving south to Wakefield, bound for the
Great Dismal Swamp. We felt fortunate to have been
able to experience a small part of this beautiful area.