28-Apr-2001 -- When a friend mentioned the Confluence Project, I was immediately intrigued.
When I learned that I lived less than an hour from one, I became obsessive.
I planned, printed maps, visited the library, borrowed a GPS, visited
bookstores and even bought a new compass. The day arrived. April 28, 2001.
My six-year-old daughter had agreed to accompany me on my quest. Her soccer
game ended about 3:00; and we set out soon thereafter. The weather was
great for late April, and Interstate 64 headed east from Lexington was
surprisingly light for a Saturday afternoon.
We followed the maps, looking for an unlabeled gravel road that would take
us to the closest point without having to cross water. A sign beside the
road was marked no trespassing; but obviously a number of homes were on the
road; we ventured forward to find someone to ask permission from. The young
man whose father owned the farm was very helpful, especially after I gave
him the letter, but suggested a nearby farm could offer better access. We
drove a mile to the east, but were unable to locate anyone at the other
farm. We attempted a southern route, and located the brother-in-law of the
absent owner who suggested a letter to gain permission. From his driveway
we could see where the confluence must be; just beyond a ravine.
We went back to the original youth who had been so friendly, and he agreed
to let us hike through to the back of their property; suggesting that his
father would be at the barn as we drove by and that we should speak with
him. The farmer saw us from his tractor, and jumped down before I could
even open the car door. He was intrigued by our quest, and suggested that
we could drive most of the way, over his fields to a tall knoll at the
corner of his property to gain close access for photos.
This confluence is more than just latitude and longitude. Three different
properties and three branches of a creek all meet within a hundred feet of
our mark. We parked atop the hillock and walked down a steep slope, over a
short fence (with no signs) stepped over a narrow creek and back up another
hill. Deer paths and tracks were everywhere. As we approached the
confluence a large tree became visible that I recognized from the aerial
photos. But where was the second tree? As we topped the hill, the fallen
tree became visible. (Photo #1) The confluence was exactly where the maps
said it should be. As I snapped the photos, I noticed a piece of paper on
the ground. We were not the first visitors to this confluence - an ink-jet
printed page from a contour map was folded carefully under a cow pile with
an arrow drawn to the confluence. (Photo #5) I don't know who the visitors
were, but took a photo of their souvenir.