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the Degree Confluence Project
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Canada : Manitoba

3.4 km (2.1 miles) NW of Exira, MB, Canada
Approx. altitude: 307 m (1007 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo topo250 world confnav)
Antipode: 50°S 81°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the northeast #3: View to the east #4: Standing on the point #5: Snowshoeing to the point #6: Celebrating on the point

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  50°N 99°W (visit #1)  

#1: View to the south

(visited by Jonathan Gray, Becky. Gray and Bethany Gowryluk)

12-Feb-2001 -- I first visited www.confluence.org in early January 2001. My wife, originally from Manitoba, and I were surprised to find that none of the confluence points in Manitoba, Canada had been visited. Where we live, in the Northeast of the United States, it looked like all of the points had already been visited. The idea of participating in the project became real, when we found that one of the points, N50 W99, was only about 20 miles north from where she grew up.

The newly released Geode (for the Handspring Visor) arrived via UPS the day before we were to depart for a 10 day trip to visit the family in Canada. We flew into Winnipeg on February 8, 2001, in time to see the kickoff of Le Festival du Voyageur. Early Saturday, February 10, 2001, two days before we visited the confluence of N50 and W99, the temperature at our family's house dipped to -40°C (-40°F). It could have actually been colder, but the thermometer had reached its bottom end.

Monday, February 12, 2001,was a bright but cold day. The temperature rose to high of -16°C (3°F). On the way to get groceries in Portage La Prairie, MB, we figured we would drive by the confluence to see how difficult it might be to find. Though most of the area’s terrain is flat, there are bluffs, valleys, gullies, sloughs and large dense stands of aspen. Just in case the confluence looked possible we packed all the necessary gear: Geode/Visor GPS, 2 Digital Video Cameras, Digital Still camera, Minolta film camera, Motorola 2-way radios, snowshoes and a hard copy of the Mapquest.com map linked to this web site.

On the way to the point, my mother-in-law and sister in-law explained to me that there might be what is known as a "mile-road" that might lead us directly to the point. Originally, the prairie was laid out using the English measurement system of miles to subdivide the section, township and range of the land. The newer roads are measured with the metric system.

Driving north on Highway 34 we passed the Trans Canada Highway and then passed under a railroad line. Right about where the GPS read N50.0 there was a mile-road that headed in the proper direction. My sister-in-law, who has experience with using GPS in the field (she has captured data points for the forestry industry in Central Manitoba using professional GPS equipment,) was monitoring the Geode while I drove closer to the position. The mile-roads seemed to appear right when we needed them.

Finally we got to a position about 1600 feet from the confluence. The terrain was completely flat and the confluence looked obtainable. Taking a few steps off the road, I realized that snowshoes were necessary. Just before we headed out, a man (apparently the owner) drove up in a pickup truck. We explained we were working on a project involving the Internet. He smiled and said, "no problem," and drove off. My wife, sister-in-law and I headed out in our snowshoes to find the point.

(Note: In the photos you can see sparkles on the snow -- this is the sun reflecting off the extra large snowflakes that covered the ground.)

About halfway, my mother-in-law, Sharon Gowryluk, who was back in the car watching our sleeping 16 month-old daughter, called on the radio to see if we had the car key. I had forgotten that I had put it in my back pocket. We were only 600 feet from the point and the sun was keeping the car warm, so we headed on, while she looked for the key in the car.

As we approached the point, a freight train on the rail line traveled by going west to east. After circling in our snowshoes a few times, we took several readings at 50N and 99W to within 5 decimal places. At one point when we used the "distance to" feature on the Geode it read that we were within 7 feet of the point.

After taking the necessary photos, we walked back watching the ground to see if the missing key had fallen out of a pocket. Back at the car, which was starting to cool down, I remembered that the key was in my back pocket. Soon we were off to Portage to buy groceries.


 All pictures
#1: View to the south
#2: View to the northeast
#3: View to the east
#4: Standing on the point
#5: Snowshoeing to the point
#6: Celebrating on the point
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)