17-Feb-2010 -- On preparing for a New England DCP marathon... I first learned of the Degree Confluence Project reading a Memphis TN newspaper in the late spring of 2003. The next February I decided to head out before work on the 20th to visit the nearest confluence point in honor of the anniversary of the project’s first visit in 1996. Since then, this initial whim has evolved into a personal tradition (some say obsession), in which I attempt to mark the DCP anniversary date each year by visiting a confluence in a different state. In fact, over the past six years I have made nine such “International Confluence Day” visits: in AL, MS, GA, IA, MO, KS, NE, TN, and AR. For 2010 I decided to travel to New England and see if it was possible to visit confluences in five different states on the 14th anniversary of the project. As there were multiple opportunities along the 42nd and 43rd parallels in Connecticut and New York, I decided to arrive several days early to scout out the best combination of five different cp’s.
Leaving home for the airport, I see snow on the ground, an unusual occurrence in Mississippi that gives me cause for concern about what conditions I will encounter in New England. While changing planes in Baltimore, my flight is canceled by heavy snow on the other end in Manchester NH. I am re-booked on a later flight, which is also delayed by New Hampshire weather conditions. However, by the time I arrive, the sky is clearing, and snow has already been cleared from most public roadways and many parking lots. This is a rather impressive performance for someone from the Deep South who knows this much snow would have crippled transportation in Mississippi for weeks!
The next day I head south, skirting the Boston metro area; then head west into northern Connecticut. My trip is delayed by a truck roll-over accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike, which slows approaching traffic on I-95. A low light of the drive is the frequent accumulation of dried de-icier spattered on the glass from the still wet roads, but thankfully my windshield washer reservoir is full and up to the task.
I cross the Connecticut River on I-91, then turn west on Highway 20 toward the Hartlands. When I turn north off Riverton Road onto Mill Street, the pavement is clear, but the road shoulders are deep in snow, and at the 42nd parallel there’s no place pull off. I turn around at Hogback Road and do another drive-by. There are a number of “Posted” signs along Mill Street. I remember reading of Charlie Worrick’s encounter with local law enforcement at the end of his March 2007 visit, and wish to avoid a similar occurrence. I turn into a plowed diagonal parking space at what Joseph Kerski described in September 2006 as “the Hansel and Gretel house.” My knock on the door is answered by a man with a white beard that would do Santa Claus proud, who four years later is still a staunch member of the J. Kerski Fan Club. He assures me the owners of 42N 73W live a long way away, and it will be perfectly fine to leave my car where it is while I go take my pictures.
As I step over the low stone wall, a Robert Frost paraphrase comes into my head: “Whose woods are these I think I know/ His home, it is quite distant, though/ He will not mind me walking here/ To see his woods filled up with snow.” I take my pictures, then pause to savor the moment. The view is indeed, as Frost describes, “lovely, dark, and deep.” I reflect on road conditions, distances, and driving times in the Connecticut hills, and decide 42N 73W is not a good candidate for my International Confluence Day marathon; but I am glad to have spent this afternoon enjoying the spot’s silent seclusion…
Story continues here.