02-May-2004 -- Confluence visit to N49° 00’ 00” by 117° 00’ 00” by Raymond Thomas of Salmo, BC
Ah the alarm clock rings, as I look at the clock it reads 4:30am and I remember this is the morning I’m going for a confluence visit. After a quick breakfast I’m out the door at 5:00 am.
The GPS reads 17.5 miles southeast of Salmo to the confluence. My dog Shayla waits anxiously to get going.
It takes me thirty minutes to drive to the summit of Kootenay Pass, which has an elevation of 5820 feet. The temperature is below freezing so I can take advantage of the crusty snow. This will make travel easier for my dog and I. I put skins on my alpine touring skis and I’m off at 5:40 am. The GPS read the confluence is approximately 4.5miles SSE.
I climb to the first summit and my altimeter reads 6500ft. I take the skins off the skis and it a quick trip down to the Monk Creek Forest Service Road where I cross a set of bear tracks made the evening before. As I look closer I can see the large claws and believe it’s made by a 4-5 year old Grizzly Bear. I heel my dog and clip a can of bear spray onto my belt. As I reach Monk Creek I’ve dropped 1250 feet of elevation into the Monk Creek Valley.
I put the skins back on my skis, take a good drink and start climbing for the next summit. I reach the summit at 6035 feet and read the GPS. I am 1.7 miles southeast of the confluence. I am slowly losing elevation on gentle sloping terrain as I head toward the International Boundary. When I get to the cut line boundary I turn east and start climbing again. As I get to the crest of the hill I see a small lake the previous visitors had described and I know I’m getting close. The GPS read about 100 metres to the confluence.
The confluence is north of the boundary and I have to traverse a steep sloping side hill. The area has lot of rock bluffs and small cliffs. I take off my skis and start hiking towards the confluence. The GPS is jumping around as I walk through the trees. I get to N49&00’03” by W117&00’00” which I feel is close enough. The accuracy on my GPS is at 12 metres. The time is 9:45am, a long 3 hour trip from the pass.
I eat lunch and take the pictures I need. The sun is getting hotter and the trip back will be slushy.
Note: pictures of GPS coordinates of confluence did not turn out