29-Mar-2007 -- This confluence is located in South Central Alaska, USA, to the west of Cook Inlet. The site lies in the foothills to the east of a chain of mountains and volcanoes to the west that are part of the Alaska Range. This area is located just inside the northern boundary of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. This location is around 60 miles (97 km) from the nearest population, located at the Alaska Native village of Tyonek and the oil and gas facilities of Beluga and Trading Bay along the western shore of Cook Inlet. The surrounding area shows much evidence of long ago glaciers and glacier run-off. The area has large concentrations of migratory waterfowl in both the fall and spring.
On March 29, a particularly nice sunny spring day, Larry and I went flight seeing in Larry’s airplane with the goal of locating and documenting 5 different confluences. We took off from the Kenai airport, flew due west to cross over Cook Inlet at its narrowest point, then turned south and flew along the west side of Cook inlet toward Illimna Volcano. We first located 60N153W then flew due west to 60N154W. We then went due north to 61N154W then turned east and we traveled to 61W152N then returned to Kenai. The round trip took us about 3 hours of flying time. The temperature on the ground at the airport was about 32 degrees F (0 degrees C); at altitude, it was about 20 degrees F (-7degrees C). Our trip took us across a large inlet covered with melting ice floes, across mountains and volcanoes of the Alaska Range and deep into the back country of Alaska, far from any cities, towns, villages or roads. Once we started across the mountains we saw only a few isolated snowmobile tracks and remote cabins while covering hundreds of square miles.
Larry and I flew over this site in Larry’s 1975 Cessna 180J airplane; the actual confluence was determined by the on-board Garmin 295 GPS. With the satellites that we were able to receive on this day, we flew over the confluence to within an accuracy of 19 feet (5.9 m).
Locating this confluence, we noted that this would probably be one of only two of the easiest confluence of the 4 we visited this day to reach on the ground. This area is well away from any population other than a few scattered cabins. There are no roads anywhere nearby but if someone wanted to visit the confluence on the ground the easiest way to do so would be with a helicopter or on a snowmobile during the winter months. The terrain is extremely rugged to walk-in from very far away.
Photos: Photo 2 shows a broad view of the area. This picture was taken shortly after we took off from the Kenai Airport and were crossing Cook Inlet at about 5,000 feet (1,5240 m). Just after the picture was taken, we turned south to begin our great circle route, returning to this confluence last before heading home. Photo 1 shows the confluence from about 1,000 feet (305 m) directly above it. As can be seen in the photo, the area is lightly covered in brush and spruce trees, the terrain is quite broken but the site would be accessible. The confluence on the ground is about 500 to 900 feet (152 to 274 m) in elevation. Photo 3 shows the view looking from the confluence looking west toward Spurr Volcano which is 11,070 feet (3,374 m) high and was last active in September of 1992. Photo 4 shows the view from the confluence looking east toward Cook Inlet. Between the east and west views, one can get a good idea of what the terrain looks like around this confluence. Photo 5 shows Larry refueling the airplane at the conclusion of the trip. Photo 6 shows Lee at the airplane after tie down and all the winter covers have been put on until the next flight. This airplane is on wheels during the winter and is on floats during the summer.
This site is considered secondary rather than primary, although it is certainly on the ground and accessible. The designation of secondary must have something to do with the Poles Problem Logic as defined in the information section on the home page of the web site.
According to the rules of the web site, this visit has to be considered incomplete because we weren’t actually on the ground. As can be seen from the pictures, this is quite a remote spot, but with some effort, it could be visited on the ground. Perhaps our flyover and pictures will spur someone on to make a land visit, until then it at least shows something about the site.