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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Minnesota

9.1 miles (14.7 km) NW of Ely, St. Louis, MN, USA
Approx. altitude: 485 m (1591 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 48°S 88°E

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

#2: Looking East #3: Looking South #4: Looking West #5: No Minutes, No Seconds #6: Back: Dave,Selma,Kim,Nick,Sheila,Steve; Mid: Amber,Ben,Merv; Front: Hugo #7: Homer resting after the trek to the Confluence Point

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  48°N 92°W  

#1: Looking North

(visited by Kim Pearson)

16-Feb-2002 -- The 48N/92W Confluence Point is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in northern Minnesota, about 9 miles NW of Ely, MN. It is north of Burntside Lake and SW of Slim Lake. The BWCA is over one million acres in size and contains hundreds of lakes and rivers with over 1200 miles of canoe routes.

Herb Pick and Mervyn Bergman have been leading winter snowshoe camping trips in Northern Minnesota every year since 1965. Traditionally the trip is scheduled for the coldest weekend of the winter. Due to the combination of strenuous backpacking and bitter cold conditions, it has been referred to as "The Death March". Historically the expedition has been an aimless march through deep snow, marshes and thickets - with the destination being the location where a quorum collapses from exhaustion. This year we decided a concrete goal (i.e., the Confluence Point) would be a nice break with tradition.

Trip members this year were Herb Pick (emeritus), Mervyn Bergman, Sheila Bergman, Dave Glabe, Steve Erler, Ben Erler, Amber Martin, Nicholas Guidice, Hugo Bruggeman, Selma De Ridder, Kim Pearson, and Homer (Nick's guide dog). Selma, a veteran of several previous expeditions, flew over from Holland to participate in this historic event.

We left Minneapolis on Valentine's Day 2002 and stayed at the YMCA Camp Widjiwagan on the North Arm of Burtside Lake Thursday night. The Confluence Point is about 0.7 miles NNW from a cross country ski trailhead on the North Arm Road. Friday morning we backpacked from the trailhead to near the edge of the BWCA. The terrain is gently rolling hills covered with predominately white pine and jack pine.

The BWCA has a party size limitation of 9 people, so we established a base camp just to the south of the BWCA. Some years we've built igloos and snow huts for warmth. This year the temperature remained above 0 F and igloos were unnecessary.

Saturday afternoon (Feb 16th) we hiked to the Confluence Point. Since the CP is in the BWCA proper, we formed 2 parties and met at the CP mid afternoon. A beautiful ski trail goes to within about 0.25 miles of the confluence. It was then a short hike through some moderately thick brush on hilly terrain to reach our destination. The CP is at 1666 feet elevation, about 250 feet above Lake Burntside.

As many of you know, one of the biggest challenges can be getting your GPS to lock in at exactly no minutes and no seconds. Standing around in the winter cold after working up a sweat from hiking is no picnic. This turned out to take close to an hour and we noticed the sun was rapidly sinking below the treetops. Once we got a GPS lock, we quickly snapped our pictures and headed back to our base camp, arriving just before dark.

We'd like to dedicate the 48N/92W confluence point to Herb Pick, whose pioneering spirit and love of outdoor adventures over the past several decades exemplifies the spirit of the Confluence Project. Due to an injury, Herb's spirit was with us while his body remained at Camp Widji.


 All pictures
#1: Looking North
#2: Looking East
#3: Looking South
#4: Looking West
#5: No Minutes, No Seconds
#6: Back: Dave,Selma,Kim,Nick,Sheila,Steve; Mid: Amber,Ben,Merv; Front: Hugo
#7: Homer resting after the trek to the Confluence Point
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)