01-Nov-2003 -- On October 25, Bill and I set out to explore the 2 confluence points that lie directly north of us: 44N 71W and 45 N 71 W. From our house in southern NH, route 16 heads north, up thru the White Mountains, just a few miles to the west of both confluences. We started with the more northerly, 45N. It lies offshore in Lake Aziscohos, and the only other visit was made from onshore. We brought our folding kayak (a Klepper, the official watercraft of NATO commandos) to get to the exact spot.
It was a lovely, though cloudy, late fall day. As we drove north and gained altitude (from sea level to over 2,000 feet) we saw snow piled at the sides of the road; the clouds thickened and lowered. We could see snow falling at higher elevations…. Hmmmmm, we had never kayaked in snow before.
Thanks to the previous visitor and our maps, we knew we could get to within approx ¼ mi of the confluence by car. We guessed at the turnoff from 16 and got it right the second time. We had 5 miles to the point. During the last 2 miles the sleet started. We had never kayaked in sleet before, either.
We stopped at a handy wide spot where a) it would be easy to turn around, and b) the road started up a steep slope we didn’t want to try, and ate some lunch in the car. We were indeed less than half a mile from the confluence and close to the shore of the lake, though the path was snow-covered and fairly steep. Bill went down the path to reconnoiter. The temperature was exactly at the freezing point, and a stiff breeze was blowing from the west. We decided to walk along the shore and see how close we could get. The lake level seemed down, so perhaps we could reach the point on foot.
No such luck. We got to 45N but only 70 59.977W - perched on a largeish rock being battered by the freezing chop. Though the sleet had stopped, the ground was too slippery to risk carrying the two heavy bags containing the kayak. In the end, we whimped out and took our photos from there – but we weren’t happy about it!
Then we turned back to the south to find 44N 71W.
A week later, Saturday November 1, dawned warm and still. Given this miracle late Indian summer moment, we knew we had to go back and finish what we had started. Retracing our steps from the week before, we reached the confluence shortly after noon. The previous week’s snow had melted leaving spring-like mud. We carried the bags down to a large slippery rock at the edge of the lake.
Putting together the Klepper on the rocky shore of the lake went pretty well (see the photos: the kayak starts out in 2 bags – one containing the long, skeletal pieces and the other, the skin and ribs. It takes about 15 min to assemble and 10 to take apart - slightly longer with cold fingers). Even on the deck of a submarine, you have a nice flat place to lay out the pieces, but here on the rocks, the gunwales and floorboards did not click together with their usual precision, being a little twisted. With a little encouragement, though, they stayed put while we added the seats and inflated the sponsons. Then it was easy to board from a dock-shaped rock and set out for the confluence.
There was again a fresh breeze blowing from the northwest and temperature in the 50’s (F) as we paddled south toward the spot, but we only had to go about .2 miles. It was easy to get right to the latitude, and Bill turned us in a tight little circle to pick up the longitude as I snapped the pictures. The weather looks more threatening than it actually was! Always a good omen, a ladybug landed on the bow just as I was taking the GPS picture. We have spent a lot of time in the lakes of Maine, but this spot has to be the loveliest of all.