07-Oct-2001 -- After finding confluence 47°N 93°W Ron and I sped east to see if we could spot two confluences in the same day. It was 5 PM by the time we reached St Louis County 44 due west from the confluence and found a way into the woods. Less than two hours of daylight remained, so we hurried into the dense pine forest. We actually started slightly north of 47 degrees because we wanted to stay north of the marshy lake created by the French River.
The pine trees were large enough so that the undergrowth was more a nuisance than a hindrance. The main problem was the beavers who had decided to cut down trees so that they fell across our desired path. Eventually we had to come down from the hills to cross the river. It was wet, but we went around the worst parts and crossed others on fallen logs. When we reached the main channel, it was 30 feet across and looked deep, we thought we might have to turn back until we spotted a beaver dam just upstream. The dam was solid enough to walk on, and at that point I apologized to the beavers for all the rude things I had said about them earlier.
The forest on the other side was equally dense and I looked forward to being able to take pictures of ‘classic’ Northern Minnesota piney woods at the confluence. I was confused at first when the woods opened onto a clearing that stretched at least a mile to the east and as far as I could see to the north and south. The beavers had been very busy here, the kind who use chainsaws and drive bulldozers.
The confluence was in the middle of a large clearcut, the trees on the ground were aspen and small pine trees knocked down while cutting the large pines. It would be interesting to visit this spot in a few years and see if the forest has regenerated.
We followed the logging road for a while, but turned back to the woods when the road seemed to only run south and east from the site, not west. If someone could locate where this road meets the highway, they would have easy access to the confluence. On the way back, we ran out of daylight about twenty minutes before we ran out of forest, but the trusty GPS kept us going in the right direction. Half an hour later we were past Duluth and on I35 back to the Twin Cities, stiff from our hikes, and sobered by radio reports that the war in Afghanistan had begun.