the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Virginia

2.5 miles (4.0 km) NE of Stringtown, Wythe, VA, USA
Approx. altitude: 833 m (2732 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 37°S 99°E

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

#2: Group photo at the confluence. #3: Group photo at the start. #4: Photograph of our display. thumbsize4:120,67 #5: The Geocache we left.

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  37°N 81°W (visit #1)  

#1: Looking south down the drainage.

(visited by Craig Ferguson, Philip Balister, Mark Eisenbies, Ko Takamizawa, Sandy Knapp, Scott Rapier and Steve Wells)

06-Jan-2001 -- The barrage of emails from the geekier amungst us began a couple of days before the weekend. N37 W81 was identified as the closest unattempted confluence to Blacksburg, VA and designated as our target. This confluence is located on the Jefferson National Forest so we guessed access would be relatively straight-forward. There were a couple of roads that would potentially reduce our hike to as little as 3/4 mile, however, all approaches required we cross private land to reach the national forest boundary.

Saturday morning began with one out of three of the 4WD vehicles fully operational. Once they'd been tinkered with we set off for the Wallyworld for supplies and prizes for the geocache. It took about 40 minutes to drive down Interstate 81 toward our objective, but the lead vehicle failed to make the agreed upon exit. Undaunted, the remaining two vehicles took the initiative and started investigating the roads. We first drove up a southern approach, after one stream fording, we came to two homes (one with large dogs), and decided to go ahead and investigate the northern road.

The northern road was a bit more primative and required several frozen stream fordings. We finally reached a terminating gate and a home. The resident was helpful, but did not own the property beyond the gate. He gave us the name of a landowner who controlled access via a western route. This apparently was the "easiest" and the right-of-way the US Forest Service utilized. We located this second residence but the landowner was not home. We didn't want to cross anyone's land without permission so we proceeded back to the southern approach and met back up with our third vehicle.

The southern road led us up to a small horse farm... and human activity. The landowners were home and were very gracious. They allowed us access to their fields which led all the way up to the forest boundary. Up we drove, and into the woods we went.

The hiking was pretty rugged because the GPS units in the lead took the most direct route indicated (the silly ones in the rear were using compass and maps). However we all attained the crest of a spur ridge about the same time. The hiking was much easier from there and we were homing in on 37N. Then we headed east and downslope over a lot of ice downed trees, and then through a thick white pines grove to find the point.

It actually wound up virtually at the head, and almost directly in the middle of the drainage we had been. There was a brief argument over whose GPS unit was right (... a little unit-envy one would guess).

We spent about 20 minutes taking pictures and establishing a geocache for the geocaching game at http://www.geocaching.com (the "Elvis Confluence"). We left a number of excellent prizes for any future visitors to the site.

The group split up for the hike out. Five insisting to follow a more "interesting" linear way back to the cars, and two who decided to go back the way we came (they being the two who don't leave it all to technology, looked at the map, and noted that the linear route was going to suck).

Of course the five did eventually make it out.

 All pictures
#1: Looking south down the drainage.
#2: Group photo at the confluence.
#3: Group photo at the start.
#4: Photograph of our display. thumbsize4:120,67
#5: The Geocache we left.
#6: The first aid kit... it was cold.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)