03-Aug-2001 -- Having recently purchased a GPS unit and discovering the Degree Confluence site, I though it would be great to attempt a visit if I had the chance. After consulting the web site for available confluence points, and checking local maps, there were two that could be in my travels someday.
The chance for my first adventure occurred during the August long weekend. I had to travel from Peterborough, Ontario, where my in-laws live, to my parents who are in North Bay, Ontario. I currently reside in Toronto. The trip from city-to-city is in a northwest direction, but all of the major roads run North-South and East-West. One of the East-West roads (Highway 118) is about 1.4 km northwest of 45N 79W, near the Village(?) of Clear Lake.
After checking the topographic maps of the area, I discovered that a small road leads southeast from highway 118 to within 375 meters of 45N 79W. There was a Lumber Yard and a few buildings along the road, but no other information if the road was accessible, private, etc… I entered the GPS waypoints into my GPS at home, before leaving for Peterborough, and then on to North Bay.
We (my wife and young daughter) left Peterborough on the morning of August 3rd, heading for North Bay. The trip brought us west to Lindsay, north to Carnarvon, then west on Highway 118 heading towards Muskoka Falls. The small road heading towards 45N 79W was about 32km from Carnarvon at Clear Lake.
The small road was a well maintained, two lane, dirt road. The few bridges along the route, over rivers, were in excellent shape. Good thing, since my mode of transportation was a Minivan! We passed the old, empty, abandoned Lumber Yard (Picture #7), about 1km down the road and arrived at the end of the road at about 2km.
At the end of the lumber road was a closed up “cottage” and a few buildings atop a small hill (Picture #5). I assume this was the house of the lumberyard owner when the mill was active. There was nobody around and it looked like there was very little activity that happened here.
From the cottage to 45N 79W was 375m south. There was about 100m of open ground, then dense forest, trees, rocks, steams, etc… All common for this part of Canada. (Picture #6)
I stepped out of the minivan into low 30 degree Celsius heat (90 F or so), lots of humidity and bugs! As I applied bug spray under the direct sunshine, starting to sweat, I asked my wife if she wished to join me on the rest of my adventure into the bush. She gave me one of those “you are nuts” looks and decided to stay in the air-conditioned van, with no bugs and our daughter.
However, my trusty Chocolate Labrador Retriever “Mokabear” (Picture #4) wasted no time in accepting the challenge. Enough of this boring car ride, let’s run around in the bush! So, with a goodbye from my daughter, a kiss from my wife, bug spray, tripod, GPS and dog, I headed out.
Of course the first 100m of the open area trip was easy. The remaining 275m (or so), was more a challenge through the thick bush. My dog had no trouble heading in a straight line being low to the ground, 4 wheel (paw) drive, and smaller than me. I had to climb over and under trees that had fallen, around tightly packed trees, etc… The GPS tracked very well for being under tree cover the whole distance.
About 50m from the target, I came across a very old, dirt road running across my path. It had not been used for a very long time, and was washed out in numerous places. It was headed in the wrong direction, so I continued through the bush.
At 45N 79W, there was nothing (Picture #1). Except for trees, rocks, bush, plants, forest, etc… I hung my GPS on the tree that I decided was “the spot”, setup my tripod and took some pictures (Picture #2, #3). With nothing else to do, I headed back.
On the way back, I traveled along the old dirt road, since it was heading close to the direction I wanted to go. A lot easier than going through the forest. It ended back at the main road, about 200m away from my car. Hard going in, very easy coming out!
Anyway, an easy confluence, except for the short bush walk.
My wife, however, was a little more stressed. When I was gone, her mind started to hear and see “strange” things as she waited for me to get back. Just sitting in the van, looking at this abandoned cottage, open field and thick forest around her, she was sure something, or somebody was going to pop out and get her! Too many scary movies I guess. And to make it worse, I had the dog. Nothing to scare away the evil!
A few minutes later, we were back on the main road and heading to North Bay.