05-May-2007 -- This describes my visit to the confluence at 43N 72W.
I had just visited the confluence directly north of this one, at 44N. So I was approaching from the north on interstate 93. Stopping briefly at Concord, the New Hampshire state capital, I turned west on interstate 89 for a short distance then south on Rt 202; a fast moving state highway which quickly brought me to the general vicinity.
The land is hilly even though it is not in the main stream of the Appalachian range. There are several clumps of high hills nearby, including Mount Monadnock, the tallest at 1100 m., located 16km to the southwest.
I turned west onto rt 137, which took me to Hancock, a picturesque town with a main street lined with well kept colonial era buildings and churches.
A small pond locates the town center, and just to the west, Depot Road turns north to the confluence site. Approx 1 km up the road, I came to a restored railway depot building, giving name to the road. My topo map revealed remnants of a rail bed alongside, but the tracks have been long abandonned and overgrown.
The road turned to dirt and began to climb. As it wound through the forest, there were many newly cleared lots offering views of Piscataquog and Crotched Mountain to the east.
This region is within easy commuting distance to the heavily populated and industrialized zone at the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. There is much more money at 43N than there was at 44N, and the large homes newly built along this suburb road were evidence of that.
At 4 km, the road ended at a huge house, sitting atop a knoll that Joe Kerski described as a glacial erratic. The message on the politely worded sign still meant "Keep Out", so I backtracked to find the access road that would lead me west to the confluence. Having been nearly arrested for trespassing at 42N 73W, I was looking for postings that might cause similar trouble, but there were none.
Herring flies began following me as I began the walk, but the road was pleasant, and showed signs of upkeep and maintainence. There were occasional placards with numbers along the roadside, and numerous trees in the woods were tied with colored ribbons, or blotches of spray paint. Apparently this region also is on the verge of clearing for development. The road continued downhill as I approached a wetland.
My plan was to continue to exactly 72W, then enter the forest to the north, and walk 300m up the longitude line to the confluence. Alas, this proved to be a bad idea; the terrain adjacent to the wetland was a disrupted jumble of large boulders, crossed with fallen and rotted tree trunks, all covered with moss and leaves. I toughed it out for a while, then diverted to an upland path to the east which offered easier walking. The hill forest had its own challenges however, with close spaced pine tree trunks, festooned with pointy sticks. I had my hat & glasses knocked off several times and even dropped the GPS once into the leaf litter.
Finally, the destination was at hand. The GPS zeroed very conveniently for a picture. I took the directional pictures, then quickly had to start moving again. The black flies had caught up with me and began invading every opening in my face.
The locale was 50% evergreens; pine and hemlock, and the remainder were hardwoods of all sizes. Bushes lined the wetland. The swamp to the west was flooded; looking more like a pond. Soon, the mosquitoes season would arrive; this would not be a place for comfortable outdoor recreation.
On the return hike, a wild tom turkey crossed the road 30m in front of me. I scrambled to take his picture, but his forest skills put him out of sight by the time I reached the crossing.
I saw no other animals on this excursion.