21-Sep-2002 -- On the first visit to this confluence, Jessamyn and Michael talk about the folly of wandering around the woods during the Vermont mud season. I though we'd be safe doing it in late September after a very dry summer, but several times we were up to our knees in mud, hoping that as we pulled our feet out, boots would still be attached.
From the previous report and email conversions with Jessamyn, I believe the first visit was from the west, via the Forest Service road off the Lincoln-Ripton Road. For a different perspective, we choose to attack from the east, off the Natural Turnpike in Ripton. There's an old gravel pit that's now turned into a target practice area. We parked there, set a waypoint on the GPS for our return to the car and hoped no one would take aim at the Outback.
Most of the trip in was on fairly solid ground, though dense pine stands forced some detours. We skirted a swamp to our left and then gingerly passed over the work of some ambitious beavers. With the picture of the 'Confluence Rock' in our minds, we again hit solid ground and followed the GPS's arrow. Just ahead was the large rock and amazingly it was as the exact spot of the confluence.
After 10 minutes or so of doing the 'confluence dance' to get all the zeros and taking some pictures, we started back. Unfortunately, due to heavy clouds and tree cover, we lost the GPS signal several times, causing a few remarks like "haven't we been here before?". I pulled out my trusty compass to verify our exit route, only to find I had broken it by sitting on it at the rock. The route track clearly shows our circular wanderings. Well, we got the signal back and got back on course -- this time right through the swamp that we had bypassed earlier. Following a moose path through the dense chest high grass, we eventually made it back to the starting point, drained the swamp muck from our boots, and celebrated what two out-of-shape brothers could still accomplish.