03-Feb-2001 -- Short version: Cold, snow, angry dogs, barbed wire, minor bleeding, thin ice,
found the point, good time!
From the maps I could tell 43N 86W would not be taken easily. The point is just south
of the intersection of the Bass River and the Grand River. The Grand River is a fairly large
river running from the center of Michigan, through Grand Rapids, to the city of Grand Haven
on the shore of Lake Michigan. The closest roads are 1/2 mile away in all directions and
there is too much ice in the river to approach by boat from the north. It promised to be
swampy and blocked by many natural barriers.
While scouting the roads around the site I came upon a man sitting in his truck. I
approached him and explained what I was doing. He told me he was helping some friends
hunt coyotes with dogs and that they were now in the general area of the point. He offered
to lead me to the home of the landowner to get permission. The woman who answered the
door was very nice and asked if the pictures would be on the web site. (Hi Becky)
Now having permission, I drove to the closest spot and started walking. I was alone
since not one person I had talked to about this thought it sounded like fun ... or even made
sense. The snow here had melted down to about 8-12 inches and in some spots I could
walk on top of a frozen layer of snow. The temperature was 21° F and the wind was about
10 knots from the south. I set out to approach the point from the west.
I walked about 300 yards and ran into a very solid barbed wire fence. It was five feet
tall and made up of 6 strands of very tightly strung barbed wire. I skirted around the fence
to the south in order to find an easy place to cross it. In doing so I inadvertently entered
the property of two rather angry dogs. I decided that right there was a very good place to
cross the fence. I climbed to the top of the fence and threw myself over. I landed square
on my back and managed to only receive a small rip in my coat and a few minor cuts.
The dogs seemed disappointed.
Now over the fence I had only to walk about a quarter-mile north and around some
swampy areas to reach the point at about 4:00 PM. This confluence is only about 50
feet from open water in a cornfield. Standing water had frozen in the field and I was
breaking through the thin ice at every step. I found the exact confluence point and took
the required pictures. Due to the snow, the pictures are a little washed out and you can't
really see the river too well.
It was a great adventure and I think I will try to bag a few more points in the future.
Distance from home: 23 miles
Distance walked: 1.6 miles
Average speed: 2.3 mph
Trip time: about 1:15 on foot, 4 hours total
Temperature: 21° F
Windchill: 5° F
Dewpoint: 14° F
Wind: SSE at 10 mph
Visibility: 10 miles
Clouds: Overcast (OVC): 3600 ft