My co-explorer, Thomas C.H. Mueller, and I made this confluence visit our second of the day after N43W092. At the very least we knew this one would be a longer walk, as maps put the confluence very near the center of a one-square-mile block of cropland. In the aerial photos, the land looked like it was divided into fields one-quarter mile on a side (i.e. forty-acre parcels). Hopefully, then, there would be a seam down the middle between fields that we could walk along.
We drove in on the east-west road north of the confluence. I was concerned about how to park the car since the shoulders were very steep, but at the half-mile mark there was a convenient access point for farm machinery that would now double as a parking space. The seam that we had hoped for between fields was there in the form of a rusty barbed-wire fenceline.
Tom and I entered the land by walking south along this fenceline. The going was slow because the ground was heaped up twelve to eighteen inches higher than field-level at the fence, but this heap was also very narrow. Slipping and turning an ankle was a worry, and catching oneself by grabbing for the barbed wire to the right didn't seem like a good idea. Still it was better than trying to make progress through the dense jungle of field corn to either side. So we kept our eyes down a lot and placed our steps carefully.
One quarter mile later, the corn that was to our left gave way to soybeans for the next forty-acre parcel. Now every step we took produced a cloud of little green flying bugs. Though they flew around by the dozen and one had to take care not to inhale them, they were still less annoying than the mosquitos had been at N43W092.
Another quarter mile south the crops changed again. On our left where we believed the confluence to lie was another field of corn. Just as Tom and I glanced up to give it a good look a deer bolted into the corn a short distance away. We had little choice but to follow, as the deer was going in pretty much the same direction we needed to go, according to the GPS.
Probably the deer made good time through the corn, but our own progress was slow. My boyhood memories of Illinois cornfields place the corn rows considerably farther apart than what I observed in this field. Perhaps this is a recent agricultural improvement for increasing bushels-per-acre. Just as likely it is a perceptual thing, since I'm much wider now relative to the corn rows than I was as a boy. At any rate, trying to make progress through the corn without cutting oneself on the serrated edges of the corn leaves was a trick. How appropriate (and unpleasant) an injury would a corneal laceration be?
The slow pace also tended to confound the GPS, which was infuriatingly slow with modifying and updating our position. We were led astray a couple times by the protracted averaging process the unit was performing, which tended to imply we were still moving in one direction even after we had turned around and started back the other way. Fortunately I had brought a compass along on this occasion to resolve these directional disputes. Our two-way radios also came in handy when Tom and I lost sight of each other briefly.
Eventually, the GPS caught up and settled down to where we could fine tune our position. I started doing conversions in my head between cornrows and milliminutes-of-arc to find the right spot that would zero us out and get us right on the confluence (now dubbed cornfluence). Another thirty feet or so of adjustments and we had it.
There was still the problem of getting meaningful photos in the midst of seven and eight-foot-tall cornstalks. Since Tom is of lesser-pudginess than I, he won the honor of being the elevated landscape photographer. I was able to buoy him up on my shoulders and then he held the camera up as far as he could to snap the photos in the four cardinal directions. While these pictures are still rather uninteresting, you'll have to trust me that they're better than the view at five feet altitude.
Wrapping up for the day, Tom and I were just able to get in one geocache visit in Prairie du Chien.