08-Jun-2002 -- 8 June 2002 – Well, the inaugural expedition of the "Invitational International Ad Hoc GPS Club" was a success!
By way of explanation... Dave had made two unsuccessful forays into the forest west of Ladysmith seeking this confluence and Bob and Noel had made another. Hooking up by e-mail we all agreed to await an auspicious confluence of better information, weather and planetary alignment to mount a joint effort. Perhaps more importantly, Dave managed over time to locate a helpful forestry engineer with Timber West, the logging company upon whose private lands the confluence point lies, and arranged for Bob to pick up a key to the gate that blocks the access on Spruston Road.
We met at the Nanaimo airport located on Highway 1 at the little town (don’t blink) of Cassidy. Dave brought along his distant cousin Neale, who was on the 202nd day of his around the world odyssey. Tim, a veteran confluence hunter of known repute, saw our last minute plan posted on the web and showed up as well.
Our little convoy of sport utes headed north up the highway, less than a kilometre, then turned west onto Spruston Road. The road is paved for the first while, then turns to gravel prior to being blocked by the aforementioned gate at the boundary of Timber West’s lands. Following the forester’s map we continued up what is now clearly a logging road, passing under the high voltage electrical transmission lines (see the previous attempts), crossing Wolf Creek and heading back towards the transmission lines using the "North Haslam Hook Up". Once under the power lines we turned right off of the logging road, onto the power line right-of-way access road. Well, calling it a road is a bit of a stretch... more like a track. We felt we were on an African safari as we drove slowly along about 2.6 kilometres towards the confluence, dust boiling up behind the vehicles, the forest denuded of trees beneath the power lines.
As we bounced along we could see the long span of the power lines ahead of us reaching out over the large ravine that had prevented previous attempts coming from the other side. Finally, where the ground started falling away into the depths of the ravine we reached the end of the access road and parked(elev. 497m), approximately 24.5 kilometres from the turn-off at Highway 1. According to all of our GPS's (four, count them, four) the confluence point was about 466 metres away from us, in the forest down in the ravine, just to the east of the power lines.
Fortunately it was a sunny dry day or else we would have gotten soaked as we bushwhacked through the underbrush between the evergreens, stumps and fallen tree trunks, stumbling and sliding down the slope and along side hills. Without too much effort we found the exact spot... assisted by the bright surveyor’s tape and a printed card from the "Ladysmith GPS Club" that was hanging over it! Drat!!!
Dave pulled a little yellow plastic flag on a stick out of his pack to further mark the spot(elev. 324m), after we had suitably emblazoned it with our own newly formed club’s name. After a celebratory beverage and a round of photos we slogged, pulled and sweated our way back up through the undergrowth to the vehicles.
Back at the logging road gate our little ad hoc club bid each other farewell and dispersed... Dave and Neale heading down-Island to Victoria, Tim heading up-Island to try to bag another confluence point or two, Noel and Bob heading off-Island by speed boat to their home on little Protection Island.