03-Mar-2001 -- After visiting the confluence at 43N 81W,
my brother Tim and I travelled
southwest along highway 401 to highway 402, the freeway that runs between
London and Sarnia. Our destination was the confluence at 43N 82W, just north-east
of the junction of highway 402 and the Forest Road, about 5 kilometres south of the
village of Forest, in Lambton County. This is flat agricultural land, covered with large,
As we approached the Forest Road exit, we found that there was bush to the north
of the highway, and we feared that we might have to fight our way through untamed
undergrowth and melting snow to find the confluence. But as soon as we got onto
Forest Road, we found it to be a very narrow strip of bush, with open fields beyond.
We saw a car parked beside the road, and for a moment were afraid someone else
had got to the confluence ahead of us (when Tim visited his first confluence in
Alberta, he met another confluence-hunter, so this wasn't an impossibility), but then
found that the car was well short of the mark.
We drove about 800 metres north, until the GPS was indicating that the confluence
was 290 metres straight east in the plowed field. Since there were no fences,
and the farmhouse and barn were about 500 metres further on, facing the
Egremont Road, we decided to go to the site without first getting permission. Here
in southwestern Ontario, there is little danger of getting shot for trespassing.
As we headed into the field, we found that it was very wet from the recently
melted snow, and we tried to find higher areas as we zig-zagged toward the
confluence. Despite these efforts, our shoes were soon carrying large gobs of
brown mud. Tim (a soil scientist) explained that the colour of the soil indicated
that this area had at one time been covered by hardwood forest, that its brown
colour came from centuries of work by earthworms processing the fallen leaves.
He said it was very different than the black soil of southern Alberta, whose
richness comes from the decomposing roots of prairie grasses. From the bits
of plant matter lying about in the furrows, he concluded that the field had
grown beans last summer.
After about 150 metres, we came to an area that had been seeded to spring
wheat. This made the going a little easier, but it was still very muddy. Just before
we got to the confluence, we crossed a dirt track coming straight back from the
farm buildings, and we wondered whether it might have been better for our shoes
if we had gone to the farm and walked out on this lane. But it was too late for that.
We found the spot a few metres beyond the track and took our photographs.
It was almost 5 PM, so the sun was too low to take a photo directly to the west. To
the west, north, and east, there are fields very much like the one we were standing
in, with farm buildings at regular intervals along the roads. To the south was the
strip of bush by the highway, but beyond that were similar farms all the way to Lake
After slogging back through the mud, we came out on the road across from
an old windmill that is obviously still used to pump water for cattle in the summer.
We cleaned our shoes as best we could (using snow, meltwater, and an old lawn
rake we found in the ditch), drove north to the Egremont Road, then east through
the village of Warwick and on to London. We arrived just in time for our older
brother's birthday party.