30-Dec-2001 -- 49N 99W--Snow-covered Confluence Number Three. The idea of visiting a third confluence in Manitoba came to me in the midst of a visit with family during the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. The vastness of the country in the part of the world is made especially poignant by the fact that there are only three confluences total in my home state, New Jersey, while there are no less than 56 in Manitoba. Since I visit Manitoba often, I figure I better get at least one confluence in during each visit -- there are 50 left!
I phoned (US: "called") my sister-in-law, Bethany Gowryluk-Booy, recently married to Dustin Booy, at Dustin’s folks house in Glenboro, MB. They had been out that day at an anniversary celebration for a relative. I was encouraged by their excited, "Yes, we’d like to do that!"
The following morning I was given more evidence of Dustin’s and Bethany’s dedication to the goal, they arrived with snowshoes and an extremely detailed and current (November 2001) map showing the surrounding area of the confluence we intended to visit. Every section of land showed the name of the landowner. Packing this excellent map, digital cameras, a Sony Digital Video Cam, my Visor Prism Handspring w/ a GeoDiscovery GPS and a pair of Motorola TalkAbouts, we felt pretty prepared for the task at hand.
On the Confluence team were, Bethany Gowryluk-Booy, Dustin Booy, Sharon Gowryluk (trusted base camp leader), Todd Gowryluk & Nanaya Filco (Nelson, BC) and myself. We loaded up into two cars at my in-laws (just north of Holland, MB) and headed due south to the border. As we sped down Manitoba Highway 34, Dustin joked, "We can call this Confluence ‘Run for the Border!’"
We relied heavily on the detailed map that Dustin had brought along. The scale was very large and showed all the farm roads and mile roads in full detail. In my initial two confluences I relied on the Mapquest.com printouts to get myself to the vicinity of the confluence. A lot more guesswork as to the drivability of the roads was necessary with Mapquest. This time we were able to get to within two miles from the confluence before I took the first reading with my GPS device.
We drove to within a mile of the point and had to leave our vehicles under the watch of our base camp crew--Sharon Gowryluk and Nayana Filco. Driving any further in the drifting snow would have been asking for trouble. The wind was COLD--the temperature was about –15C. As we trudged toward the mark, Todd glided along on a pair of old cross-country skis.
Just before a slight rise of earth and frozen tall grass, we were able to obtain a reading of 49N and 99W. We were right along the US / Canada border. South of us we could see farms roads and a farmhouse in North Dakota. We noted that the plough patterns on either side of the border were distinctly different. Around us was an expanse of flat frozen prairie interrupted by only a few stands of aspens and poplars.
As an extra bonus we buried a "geo" cache at the spot (in an old film canister.) Would be interesting if the next party that finds this confluence can report on what they found in the cache we left. Happy Hunting!