04-Dec-2008 -- As 04-Dec-2008 -- I was in the area working with the Island Institute, an organization that promotes the sustainability of island communities off the coast of Maine. As the project that they wanted me to participate in had to do with involving youth and communities in GIS and GPS-based projects for teaching and learning, I thought that a confluence visit would be the perfect start. I began the day at 5:20am in Rockland, Maine, visited 45 North 69 West en route to Bangor High School, I worked with students in GIS and geography classes, and afterwards met with a colleague who is doing amazing research and development in GIS and education.
On the way back down the coast, I debated as to whether to try for 45 North 68 West. I knew that it would be my last confluence attempt of the year, and I had not been to that part of the state before, so I decided to try it. I kept a wary eye on the weather, though, which had started to deteriorate, and though it was only midafternoon, the sky was already darkening.
I drove southeast on US 1 to Highway 46 at East Holden, then northeast to Highway 9. I then drove east on Highway 9 for quite awhile until I reached a large bend, which according to my sketch, should have been CCC Road. I pulled over and although I did not see this sign, it was in the correct spot, and I therefore drove off to the north. Due to the light rain, the road was quite slippery and muddy, and I had to be very careful. I could have followed it all the way to Stud Mill Road, but about halfway along, I found another road off to the northwest, which might save a few minutes time, I thought. I took it and then a few others, all logging roads, and all very slippery. I felt like I was on a ship, tacking here and there to angle toward the northwest. Surrounding me were spruce, pine, and other trees. I was the only person up here, and I did not relish the thought of becoming mired and spending the night here. I pinned my hopes on Stud Mill Road, ahead, thinking that it might be a gravel road and less hazardous.
When I emerged onto Stud Mill Road, my heart sank. The road was definitely wider than the logging roads I had been on, but it was just as slick. It was sheer mud in places, and I was as nervous as ever about getting stuck. I plodded on, and after 15 minutes, came to 45 North near Lower Sabao Lake. I stopped and took photographs. What a landscape! Nothing but forests under a low gray sky. I felt like I was in northern Quebec instead of fairly near major population centers here in Maine. It was one of the loneliest places I have ever been. One photograph captures the headlights of a solitary logging truck, far away. It would be fairly easy to return here when the roads were dry, and even if one hiked to the confluence along the logging road, it would be a wonderful outing. At the moment, it was quite mild for this time of year--about 45 F.
I pondered my options, and got back in the vehicle, and kept driving to the west. The reader of this narrative might wonder, after taking all of this trouble to visit the point, why I abandoned the quest. I was simply too wary of becoming mired in the mud down the road. Already the landscape was becoming too dark to photograph well, and I knew it would be worse in the forest to the south. I had to content myself with the fact that my last confluence visit of the year would be incomplete.
I drove west toward Bangor on Stud Mill Road. The night fell and the drizzle began anew. A few logging trucks passed me but I was too nervous to pass someone in front of me for fear of becoming stuck. It was a passenger car like mine and was driving slowly. As we at last emerged onto paved highway, just before US Highway 2, the car pulled over. Three teenaged fellows told me that they had been riding on the wheel rim for many miles because their tire was flat and they had no spare. I was in a rental car and could not help them. That could have easily been me, I thought, uneasily.
Despite the failed attempt, upon reflection, I really was content. I had visited or attempted to visit 26 confluences this year, an average of one every two weeks, my all-time record, and one that I was not likely to repeat. Unfortunately, my GPS somehow did not make it home with me. I have no idea where it is. My name is on it and nobody has contacted me. I had 7 years of tracks and waypoints stored on it, and I hope its new owner uses it to explore our wonderful world.