31-Oct-1999 -- Halloween turned out to
be one of those rare Northwest fall days when the sun was shining and
there was no threat of rain. Combined with moderate temperatures, we had
ideal weather conditions for a confluence attempt.
Time was our worst enemy in this attempt. We set out from home at
about 11:45 a.m., but we should have started much earlier. From our
starting point in Redmond, WA, we had about two hours of driving, plus a
ferry trip, ahead of us. We arrived at the closest vehicle-accessible
point to the confluence around 2:30, leaving us just over 2 hours until
sunset. With high ridges and dense forest in every direction, darkness
would arrive even sooner.
As we approached the place where we would park the vehicle and
continue on foot, we realized we may have neglected to bring a critical
piece of gear: orange vests. We passed several pedestrians, all wearing
orange vests, and some carrying guns. It's huntin' season out there!
Undeterred, we continued up the road to see what we would find.
We started our hike at the point where Woods Road enters the
Olympic National Forest
(photo #2), a couple miles south of Blyn, WA, and about 7 miles southeast
of Sequim, WA (pronounced
"Squim" -- the "e"
is silent). The confluence is actually on the boundary of the National
Forest, about a quarter-mile east of the road. But with a quick glance
at the terrain (photo 3), we realized this would be no "walk in the
park." The topo map had warned us that the elevation gain was severe --
at least 300 feet -- but we hadn't anticipated an obstacle course in the
form of thick underbrush and an endless jumble of fallen trees. Once we
started in, we quickly determined that no hunters would be anywhere near
us. They wouldn't bother with this kind of terrain.
We made a good effort to reach the confluence point, but after only
about 45 minutes, the sunlight was fading and so was our GPS reception,
thanks to the thick forest canopy. With another hour of daylight
available, we probably would have been able to make it (why did Daylight
Saving Time have to end just this morning?). We found a spot where we
could at least get a fix on the satellites, and took a GPS reading
(photo 4). At this point we were .032 minutes south and .314 minutes
west of the actual confluence. Then we found
and asked him to take a picture of the three of us (photo #1). No,
actually, we set the camera on a huge fallen tree and used the
During our return to the road, we took a slightly different route and
encountered some boundary markers for the National Forest (photo #5) and
a Clallam County survey
monument (photo #6). Both
of these appeared to be coincident with the 48N parallel.
Tired and disappointed, we returned to our vehicle for the long drive
We may attempt this confluence again next spring or summer, when we'll
have the luxury of more daylight.