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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Washington

6.0 miles (9.7 km) SSE of Carbonado, Pierce, WA, USA
Approx. altitude: 480 m (1574 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 47°S 58°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Intersection of Fairfax Forest Reserve Road and Manley Moore road (1/3 mi. away) #3: The Jeep of Confluence on FFRR. The confluence is in the thick woods. #4: Unfortunately, my best GPS hit was still about 157 meters off! #5: This gate and the intimidating sign blocked access from this side.

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  47°N 122°W (visit #1)  

#1: The confluence is back there, about 100 yards through the thick forest

(visited by Mike Blaszczak)

10-Oct-1999 -- After running some errands, I decided to make a break for my second confluence. Since I knew the area would be on the way into the Mount Rainier National Park, I took Liz' Jeep and left the Porsche at home. Also, I had my laptop and some mapping software. It would be easier to hook up all the accessories in the Jeep's roomy cabin with all its auxillary power outlets.

I'd studied the site before driving down, of course. It was a ways off of WA-165, which meanders into the northwest corner of the mountain. I'd bail out on a forest service road, and then I'd be able to hit the confluence from that very forest road or from the other side, which was apparently some logging road. The terrian didn't look too bad, so I figured my trip would be easy.

And it was. The sun was shining, and the weather was clear and warm. From my home (in Redmond, Washington) I drove to Issaquah, then down Issaquah-Hobart road. I caught WA-18, and it eventually crossed WA-169. Another ten or 15 miles had me on WA-165. I had only been through these towns a couple of times, back when I was far more active with the local motorcycle clubs. The roads were just beautiful, though even these small towns showed signs of the massive, sustained growth spurt that's blessed the region.

Before I knew it, I was heading through Wilkeson, a little logging town (population, about 360). A bunch of teenage girls waved to me as I passed. There wasn't much down here, so I guess a shiny new Jeep was cause for celebration. WA-165 became a little bit more windy just after town, and I regretted not bringing my sports car. The Jeep was quite sure-footed, of course, but it would be more fun to straighten-out the bends with the Porsche.

I passed over a beautiful bridge, and vowed to take pictures of it later. (When I got back home, I found that the bridge was brand-new; the old one had burned-down last year!) I pulled off and diddled with my laptop to make sure I had a good view of the map and could work the zoom feature and track the GPS at the same time. The hardware made it really easy to find the coarse location of the area.

Unfortunately, that's where things stopped being easy. I bailed out on Fairfax Forest Reserve Road, and drove along. There were beautiful views of Mount Rainer in the waning sun. I vowed to take pictures of it, too, on the way out.

Fairfax Forest Reserve Road meandered along for only a mile or so before I saw the Manley Moore Road turnoff. This intersection is shown in Photo #1. The Jeep is on Manley Moore Road, and I'm looking north on Fairfax Forest Reserve Road. The white sign near the Jeep says "Primitive Road No Markings". This intersection is about a third of a mile northwest of the confluence. The confluence lies somewhere in the crook between Manley Moore Road and Fairfax Forest Reserve Road.

I parked the Jeep further south Fairfax Forest Reserve Road, where I thought I might be able to hike into the woods and find the confluence. Out on the road, I took a quick picture of the GPS at 46 degrees, 59.933 minutes north and 121 degrees, 59.937 minutes west -- this shot is in picture #4. I was too far south and too far east, so the confluence was up the road just a little ways.

Walking back up the road, I drifted too far west. The confluence was in the woods someplace, and I thought I had found a great way to get in. But when I decided to cut into the thick, I realized the old trees and forrest land was impenetrable. Initially, I swathed through thick ferns. But less than 15 feet off the road, there were thick chigger bushes. Ugh! Picture #2 shows some of the miserable, dense undergrowth. That shot is about 20 feet into the woods, looking north-by-northeast towards an unreachable clearing. I suspect the confluence point is about 50 yards deeper into the dense woods.

I went a little further south, back towards the Jeep, and found less bushes. Of course, the reason there were fewer thick bushes was that the land was soggy and marshy. An occasional stream had risen from the ground and was flooding the area just off the road, making passage even more difficult. I might get through and find the confluence, but I'd be cold and sick. Picture #3 shows where I parked the Jeep, facing north on Fairfax Forest Reserve Road. The spot where I found the impromptu brook is about 10 yards ahead of the truck, around the closer lightbreak. I tried penetrating the forest just behind the truck, too, but had similar luck. The truck is facing north.

I thought it might be easier to approach the spot from the other side, so I drove back up FFRR to go around on Manley Moore Road. The road abruptly ends at a gate (Picture #5), which is posted "No Trespassing". I hopped the gate to find another signpost further into the property, and it was decorated by lots of intimidating signs: "No Hunting", "No Tresspassing" again, and "Private Residence: Keep Out".

My GPS was now reading 47 degrees, 0.133 minutes north by 122 degrees, 0.005 minutes west. I just had to cut into the property and walk south for about 100 yards to find my mark, but it didn't seem possible. I know that, if I lived in such an idyllic setting, I wouldn't want to come home and find a strange Jeep (and a stranger computer programmer, toting a GPS and a camera) waltzing around my property. Plus, the area where I expected to find the confluence (towards the right of the driveway in Picture #5--the drive runs roughly SSE) would have me veering off into the thick woods again.

None of the signs mentioned a property owner, unfortunately. Though, I did stumble on a sign just east of the gate (to the hard left in Picture #6, though not visible) that announced Plum Creek Timber Company had sprayed the location with an assortment of EPA-approved chemicals in preparation of replanting the land. That contradiction made me wonder if the land was really a residence, but I decided against it and called my attempt good enough.

On the way back home, I took some nice shots of Mount Rainier (Picture #6).


 All pictures
#1: The confluence is back there, about 100 yards through the thick forest
#2: Intersection of Fairfax Forest Reserve Road and Manley Moore road (1/3 mi. away)
#3: The Jeep of Confluence on FFRR. The confluence is in the thick woods.
#4: Unfortunately, my best GPS hit was still about 157 meters off!
#5: This gate and the intimidating sign blocked access from this side.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)