05-May-2002 -- Canada Confluence Roadtrip
While planning a drive across Canada to a summer job in Alaska, I pulled out the maps and looked for unvisited confluences within reasonable distances from our route, a long haul between Montreal and Whitehorse, Yukon. By the time we've reached our destination we will have attempted five confluences in five provinces over a period of six days, tromped through a diverse sampling of Canada's forests and farmland in the process, and faced such diverse challenges as beavers, grizzlies, rain, and one very incompetent photo developer.
My old friend and travelling companion, Liam, myself, and the dog Senor Pablo, begin day two of the trip with a beautiful sunrise run above glistening Lake Champlain. With a cooler full of bagels, vegetables, and a few Vermont beers, we cross the Canadian border without incident and by mid-afternoon we are navigating back roads in remote western Quebec in search of N46 W77.
Liam is skeptical at first, but having known him for 15 years, I have no doubt he'll come around to this type of adventure. By the time we've made our way to an abandoned homestead west of Chapeau, QC he is even more excited than I am. The anticipation of visiting his first confluence, and my first on solid ground, no doubt contributes to our disregard for the time (3:30) and our distance from the confluence (4.65 mi).
So, we begin to bushwack, hacking our way through the thick underbrush. The miles peel off our GPS with aching slowness, and many times we plow over a ridge only to find our forward march thwarted by a muskeg or beaver pond or inpenetrable thicket. Not prepared to spend the night in the woods, tired, and bleeding from our many scratches, we finally give up the ghost at a distance of 1.7 mi. from the confluence.
On the way back we find a hunting road that makes things much easier, so if you attempt this confluence remember that the shortest distance between one's car and a successful visit is not always a straight line......next stop 49N 88W