04-Dec-2009 -- As I was in the area for a meeting of the Crossing Boundaries project, an NSF-funded effort involving middle school teachers and students, university students and faculty, and international fieldwork and scientific inquiry, and as my involvement in the effort was to contribute to the geotechnology integration discussion, a confluence visit seemed particularly appropriate. I arrived in the area late the night before, but the opportunity arose early the next morning, as our meeting would not begin until afternoon. I thus was up at dawn, stopping at the beautiful Lake Seneca to take a few photographs and a video. It was my first time in the area and I marveled at the fact that no snow was on the ground. It was not meant to last: A few days later, the entire area was buried in about 18", and therefore, my confluence visit was just in time.
The town of Geneva was just as pretty as the lake, and after a stroll and photographing along the lakeshore, I drove north out of town along New York State Highway 14. Geneva is almost on the 77th Meridian, and the closest confluence was due north. Immediately after crossing underneath the New York State Thruway, I turned west along Fisher Road into some truly beautiful countryside. One fence was dotted with little American flags. I took a few photographs of some picturesque farmsteads and farm animals, and, seeing nowhere to pull over at the 43rd Parallel, I continued north on Maryland Road to the next intersection. Another picture was necessary due to the scenic view and the wetland before I turned back to the south. This is the land between the Finger Lakes to the south and Lake Ontario to the north, a land dotted with recreational activities, orchards, farms, and lovely towns. In nearby Phelps is the famous Sauerkraut Festival, which has been running for 43 years now. I considered stopping at the farmhouse near the wetland but was not sure that the owners would appreciate it at the early hour nor was I certain that they were the landowners. I stopped at a location along the road that provided access to the west. Good fortune: There was not a no trespassing sign anywhere along the west side of the road, and no fences, either. I could see a long way to the west, and in front of me stood the stand of trees that housed my goal.
After a muddy walk west on the edge of a field of corn, I came to the wood. I then made a beeline to the southwest, and since the trees were bare, this being late Autumn, the GPS was still picking up plenty of satellites. In less than 10 minutes from the vehicle, I stood on the confluence. It lies on ground sloping about 5 degrees to the northeast, in the northeastern part of the wood. The longest view was to the north and east. The temperature stood at 54 F (12 C), quite mild for this time of year and this time of morning. This was my second confluence in New York, as this past spring I stood at one near the Hudson River. Both of them were quite lovely, but I much preferred the one I was now standing on due to less traffic. Indeed, I saw no people or animals during my trek, and few birds. I walked out, filming my steps as I crunched through fallen leaves. I took a few more photographs, lying in the mud and experimenting with the corn stalks in the picture frames as I exited the wood. This was the first visit to this confluence in the late fall, and I was glad to make the contribution, knowing that comparing the leaf-on photographs of the previous visits would be interesting. I drove south along Maryland Road, the way I had come in. Truly a beautiful landscape.
It was exactly one year ago today that I closed out my confluence visits for the year with a visit to a forest in Maine, and here I was now in a forested area of New York, on my last confluence trip of the year. It is good to know that there are places on the planet that have not been paved, and I hoped this little wood would always be here. Here is to another year of wonderful adventures--to California, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, and beyond. But first, I could not resist one more--a side trip 1 degree to the west before my meeting began that afternoon. I had time due to the brevity of this visit. Therefore, instead of heading due south back to Geneva, I hopped on the New York Thuway, picked up a paper pass, and headed west 1 degree of longitude to 43 North 78 West.