03-Feb-2001 -- For my first confluence, I wanted something I could reach in a day trip, and this spot on the Olympic peninsula looked perfect.
First I studied the previous attempt by Jason Black and the Elsbrees, the topographical maps on topozone.com, the aerial photography, and my DeLorme atlas. I decided that instead of hiking up from Woods Road at the bottom of the valley, I would approach from the southeast along the powerline road. I thought that this way, I could drive to approximately the same elevation as the confluence, and then hike a flat quarter mile along the hillside.
It didn't turn out to be that easy.
I got up early on the cold, clear morning of February 3. By 8:30 I had loaded up and headed out from Redmond. I caught the 9:20 ferry to Kingston, and by lunch time I had driven all the way up highway 104 to highway 101, and then to Fairmont where I bought some lunch and extra bottled water.
The powerline was marked on the DeLorme atlas, but it took a while to find a road up there. The atlas is out of date, showing roads that now seem to be driveways, and with incorrect road names. Nonetheless I found my way onto Snow Creek Road from Highway 101, and from there onto fire road 2850. FR 2850 crossed the powerline about a mile from the confluence, and the road under the powerline was no problem for my Jeep.
Picture #4 is from the top of the hill under the powerline, almost exactly at 48N, facing southwest. This is about half a mile from the confluence. From there, the road dropped down very steeply. The melting frost was making the road muddy and slippery, and I was glad I brought chains. I drove down several hundred feet, but was eventually stopped by a washout that had taken half the road away, shown in picture #5, featuring my trusty Jeep.
From there I hiked. Despite the short distance on paper, it took me almost two hours to make my way through the thick bush. Although the air was cold and the trees blocked the sunlight, I was soon drenched with sweat, as I often had to crawl under and over logs.
Besides the terrain, my other difficulty was getting a good GPS reading on the steep hillside under the trees. It was easier when I started finding signs on the trees put up to mark the park boundary by the Forest Service.
In fact, when I eventually found the spot, the closest large tree had two surveyors ribbons tied to it - the only such ribbons I had seen on my hike. Despite my GPS jumping around a bit, it said I was less than 30 feet from the confluence. I concluded that the park boundary surveyors had noted the confluence and marked the tree thenselves. It was a bit disappointing to know I was not the first person to take special notice of this place.
My pack and gear are leaning against the tree in picture #2, with my GPS on a stump in the foreground. Picture #1 shows the view straight up from the confluence point, which was really the only direction you could see clearly for more than a hundred feet. Picture #3 shows the confluence point, facing east.
The hike out was faster. I returned to the powerline road much further down the hill, and finished the hike with a steep climb back to the Jeep. On the way out I took picture #6 of some frost-covered bushes on the side of the fire road.
I made it home after dark, exhausted, with filthy clothing, and twigs and dirt in my hair. I can't wait to do another one! If anyone in the Seattle area wants a companion to try for N48W124 or other confluences in Washington, send me email.