03-Jan-2004 -- Nearly 2 weeks into winter you might think that a trek to a confluence in Virginia would require hiking through snow and ice with warm clothes, hat, gloves, etc. Apparently Mother Nature didn't get that memo. The "official" high temperature (so says the thermometer in my car) was 65 deg. F! A day that was more representative of late April than of early January, slightly overcast with a light breeze. I just got my GPS receiver for X-mas and was eager to try it out and today was perfect for a first confluence attempt.
I started my hike from the north, hiking down the AT from where it crosses Rt. 50. There were a few patches of snow here and there that were still trying to hold on, but because of the sudden warmth and the frequent rain, they are fighting a losing battle. I also noticed a lot of downed trees, presumably damage from last fall's huricane Isabel.
The woods were deafeningly quiet which made any noise sound that much louder. A few times I thought I heard movement in the brush, but didn't see much until hiking out when I spied two white-tailed deer bounding away from me. I guess hibernating animals know better than the atmosphere what season it is supposed to be!
When I reached the 39th parallel, I left the AT and headed due west, expecting not to have too much trouble in finding the confluence. After bumbling around in the thick growth of the forest for a while, I happened on a path (made by the developers mentioned in others accounts) that made finding the point a little easier. I tried on several attempts to snap a picture of the receiver at the 00's but it always seemed to change just as I hit the button.
All in all a great trek and a great day!