09-Feb-2002 -- Four of us set out on a beautiful day in early February 2002. We set out just after dawn on a Saturday morning (OK after 11am, these are college students we’re talking about). You could say we were pumped, one hour drive each way, one hour walk (allowing for delays) each way, and then back to school to smile (I’m talking big, glowing-while you sleep smile) on the world of people not adventurous enough to join us. At least that’s what we thought we were getting into.
My friends will vouch for the fact that this is not the first trip I’ve planned that has ended up more work that originally thought.
This confluence is in Pine Island State Forest so there was no need to get permission for this adventure. We got to within .77 mi by car on a forest road that gets used mostly by snowmobiles all winter. We wanted to get a little closer but the car started getting stuck in the snow. So we took off into the woods with our GPSs and compass. For the next two hours I kept expecting to see the trees open up a bit, or to see the sky, or to come across a trail, anything indicating we hadn’t just walked off the face of the earth! We didn’t even see a deer trail which would have been a welcome site. There was plenty of “evidence” of rabbits, but they don’t make big enough trails. We were in the middle of a dense cedar swamp with enough holes for us all to eventually to test the depth of one or more, using our legs as measuring sticks.
Finally, after two hours of agonizingly slow progress, we were close. We did the typical spiral for the last 200 ft or so and WE MADE IT!! Even though we were all exhausted and thirsty, we were also exited at accomplishing our goal. The chatter lasted only a short time because we soon realized that we would have to push ourselves to make it back to the car before the sun set. We took the pictures, (The picture of the compass is to imply that we were able to find this confluence with a compass and a good map.) rested for a few minutes and started the miserable return trek.
On the way back, I measured the area downfall we had to cross, it was at least ¼ mi wide. At one point, Jeremey said he wouldn’t be doing this again any time soon. No arguments were voiced. We were so tired and thirsty, it wouldn’t surprise me if tears were shed when Flann finally said, “I see the car!”
We did make it back to the car just as the sun was setting. We got the car unstuck, turned around, and heading home just in time to drive into a beautiful red sunset. Now all I could do was dream about food, water and a nice hot bath (my toes were freezing now that we stopped walking). Every one of us had the blissful smile on our faces. There is no doubt in our minds, this was indeed worth the effort.