17-Jul-2002 -- We left the Duck Mountain Provincial Park in the morning and drove through Swan River, Manitoba, to Minitonas. We stopped at the Rural Municipality Office to look at the land ownership map, and determined that the confluence was probably on public land, although we decided that we were probably going to have to park the car in or near the Smiths' yard. We drove south on a gravel road until the GPS indicated that we were close to the 52nd parallel at which point we found a road heading east. We followed this road until it ended in a farmyard - presumably the Smiths'. There was no one home at the house, but as we were deciding where to leave our car a half-ton truck drove into the yard. It was Scott Smith, the son of the landowner, and after we explained the project he decided to join us on our hike.
We walked along a trail in an easterly direction from the house until we reached a ford in a small creek. After crossing the creek we were at the end of the trail. We then headed into the thick bush in the general direction of the confluence. We entered into a very wild landscape. There were fresh bear tracks in the mud, bear scratch-marks on the poplar trees, and lots of evidence of other wildlife. Scott told us of a grey wolf that had been in his yard during the past winter.
After some bushwhacking the terrain got very swampy and difficult to traverse. We were going too slowly for the GPS to give us directional readings, so we switched to latitude and longitude reading, and continued in the general direction as much as we could. We were now in an area where there didn't even seem to be game trails so moving was very difficult. Fortunately the mosquitos, which are normally quite abundant at this time of year, were not too bad on this day.
Eventually we came to a swampy area where the canopy opened up a bit. We were now very close to the confluence, and after a few soakers and some muddy shoes and boots, we reached the confluence. It was on a narrow band of land in the middle of a swamp. We took pictures in the cardinal directions, as well as one of the whole group.
When we headed back, Scott used his tracking skills to lead us back the way we came. There were places where there were no evident marks, yet Scott saw enough to tell him which way to go. After a sweaty and tiring walk back, we emerged from the woods at precisely where we had entered.