17-Sep-2000 -- The park ranger to whom we spoke before
we set out, was really keen on our quest. We
gave her the website, grabbed our maps, compass and GPS, then we set out. Hiking from 200 feet
above sea level up to 1900 feet was quite a task. Kat and I are both in great shape, but our
calves took a beating.
After 3 miles of hiking, we were at the top of the ridge, were standing on the Appalachian
trail where it crossed a pipeline, and our way warned us with No Trespassing, No Hunting and No
Nothing signs. But this was my second confluence, and I wasn't going to miss it. As we got
closer to the confluence, we located the 39 degree north. From there, we used the compass to
get closer to the goal.
Kat pointed us with the GPS towards the heavy underbrush, and I pushed a path through as she
directed me. At last success!
The bushes let out into a narrow clearing; we hoped that the confluence would be here and not
in the middle of all the dense brush. As luck would have it that day, the confluence was a
perfect spot. It was on an old trail through the woods, overgrown with soft green grass but
surrounded by the thorniest and thickest undergrowth in the forest.
Just a quick 200-yard hike up the mountain and out of the trees we found a slate-stone chimney
that rose 20 feet into the air. It had the ruins of fireplaces a hundred years old on both
sides of it. It could have been a massive mountain home at one time, but we like to think of it
as the old Moonshine Hideaway.
It was a beautiful day with cool, soothing winds. The sky was blue. The view was magnificent.
Kat spied a juvenile red-tailed hawk at the end of the day. We met a couple who had been hiking
the Appalachian Trail for 3 months. AND we found the confluence. Luckily, the return hike was
all downhill. Hope to do it again soon...