19-Mar-2004 -- Imagine one of the largest, if not THE largest, gathering of geographers on the planet and not one geographer visiting a confluence. Determined not to let that happen, I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer, successfully visited 40 North, 77 West, during the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. This five-day meeting in Philadelphia marked
the 100th Anniversary of the Association of American Geographers, founded in the same city in 1904. The meeting attracted over 5,000 geographers from academia, government, nonprofit, and business. I was determined that at least one of them would visit a confluence. This would make up for the fact that I was too busy at the meeting
to attend any of the excellent field trips. I had already set a precedent, having visited 30 North 90 West during the 2003 AAG meeting in Louisiana USA.
After nearly four hours of driving and a visit to 40 North 76 West, I found myself in a beautiful area of rolling hills and small towns. This is an area rich in history, as well, as the Civil War battle site of Gettysburg lies off to the southwest. I drove north from US Highway 30 on Pennsylvania Highway 194, crossing into York County just after the pleasant village of East Berlin. I lost my place on the map and began using my GPS to pinpoint my position. I crossed 40 North and descended toward Mud Run, a small river. I turned left on the first road I could, and parked behind a parent waiting for the school bus. The bus dropped off her son, and soon I was alone.
I walked back toward the southwest along the highway, which was narrow but also fairly heavily traveled. As I neared the home I had passed 10 minutes earlier in the vehicle, I realized that its front door was right on 40 North! I knocked several times, realizing that the vacuum cleaner was on. A person answered, stating that she was cleaning the house, and the owner was sick. As she began waving her
hands to indicate that they did not wish to be disturbed, I hastily explained my mission and gave her my business card. She was hesitant but after I mentioned that I'd stop by again when I was done, I was off.
I skirted the house on the north, noting that a new addition was being constructed on the house in the back. I then thought that the confluence might be in the midst of an electric-fenced horse stable containing a most curious horse. Fortunately, this was not the case. I soon realized that I needed to traverse some nasty brambles to enter the woods to the south. In about 15 minutes, I had arrived at the confluence, although the timber cover forced me to do a 30-minute confluence dance to zero
out the unit. I arrived at the site at 2:30pm local time. The previous day's snow had melted but had turned the ground in the woods into mud, but the air was quite pleasant, about 6 degrees C.
The confluence lies on a slope that angles slightly (less than 5 degrees) to the north. The woods were mostly comprised of tall junipers, probably planted. This area is rural, but fairly densely populated. From the confluence, however, I could hear traffic on the road but could see no dwellings.
I had previously been to 40 North four times: At 75 West, 76 West, 105 West, and 120 West. I had also been to 77 West during the previous year, at 37 North in a Virginia peanut field. I stopped back at the house, but noting that the cleaning person's car was gone, I did not wish to disturb the landowner, and so I walked back down Highway 194 toward the vehicle. I said hello to the homeowner
near my vehicle who was taking in a load of groceries. I drove toward Harrisburg and then Philadelphia where I had started this most excellent day.