15-Aug-2011 -- In June, 2005 my wife (then, girlfriend) and I visited 52N5E in the Netherlands as it was only an half hour drive away from our home and it was on public property. As such, it was an easy 'first one' and it was great fun.
For several reasons confluence hunting disappeared to the back of my mind for the next six years, but only two weeks ago two things conspired together to rekindle the fire. A colleague mentioned 'this website which collects photos of integer GPS coordinates'. Proudly I could tell him that I had visited one, and I showed him.
Not a day later I was planning the route we would take during our holiday in southern Belgium and Luxembourg, and to my surprise and excitement we would pass within 20 km of 50N5E on our way to southern Belgium, and within 5 km of 50N6E on our way back home from Luxembourg. These opportunities were too good to be wasted so I included both CPs in our route.
According to Google maps, 50N5E is 303 km away from our home in the centre of the Netherlands. As I don't like to drive fast and like to take frequent breaks it took us nearly four hours to get to the CP, but that was okay as the weather was great and the landscape beautiful. I had programmed our TomTom satnav system with the coordinates, and it led us to the CP nearly without fault. Nearly, because I am part of the system, too, and I chose to ignore one of its directions because I thought I knew better. And of course, I didn't.
After having left the motorway E411 the rural N-roads led us through the countryside of southern Belgium, with the rolling hills, dense woods and meandering streams of the Ardennes. The CP is located about a kilometre west of the sleepy village Haut-Fays, so during a quick stop there I fired up my Garmin Geko 201 GPS receiver and it pointed straight at the CP.
The CP is located about 15 m north of the N835 road called Rue de Gedinne. You can park your car either about 100 m west of the CP on the other side of the road on a parking spot, or about 200 m west of the CP on the same side as the CP on a side road. It's unpaved, but you only have to go up a few metres to park the car so that's shouldn't be a problem. We chose the latter option. As we didn't know the terrain we walked back east on the side of the road, which isn't really advisable as although the road is lightly travelled the Belgians like to drive quite fast. On our way back from the CP we discovered a path, parallel to the road, from the side road to the CP through the forest and I advise future visitors to take that path.
After about 200 m dodging the passing cars and motorcycles the Geko pointed ninety degrees left into the forest and we went in, and in only a few paces we arrived at a clearing.
As our visit took place near the end of August there was a thick leaf cover and my (pretty old) Geko had some trouble displaying a reliable position. My Android phone, which has a much newer GPS chip set, had no such troubles and within only a few minutes the coveted zeroes were displayed.
This was the first CP I visited in years and in my excitement I totally forgot to take the usual photos in the cardinal directions. That's not a great loss, as the area around the CP has not changed at all since previous visits. Except for seasonal changes, it looks identical to the photos of previous visitors. I guess it's really a typical part of the western Ardennes, gently hilly and quite densely forested. Fortunately we did take photos of the zeroes on the GPS, so I can still consider it a complete visit.
We spent about ten to fifteen minutes at the CP before tracking back to the forest to the car. We drove back to the E411 and continued southward to Virton, where we had rented a bungalow. We spent a week in the lovely Belgian countryside, walking, canoeing and visiting the caves of Han-sur-Lesse. We had a great time.
After that relaxing week, we went to the city of Luxembourg for an afternoon of exploring the city centre, dinner in a nice restaurant, a night in a great hotel, and then on to the next CP, 50N06E and after that, home.
Coordinator's Note: This visit is marked as unsuccessful only because it doesn't meet our photo requirements.