08-Jul-2004 -- I heard about the Degree Confluence Project a little while back and always thought it would be fun to help the cause. Even though the cause may seem useless (and in many ways it is!) perhaps it can help make the earth seem smaller with this community of GPS users roaming the back country in search of points on earth, keeping a record of how our diverse world looks like.
So to me, the Degree Confluence Project is about cataloguing the earth we live in so that we may know how the landscape looks like from Antarctica to the Arctic.
We are geologists in the area of Churchill Manitoba doing work with the help of a helicopter, a Hughes 500 to be more precise from Great Slave Helicopters in Yellowknife. Hence we are perfectly suited to further the confluence cause.
We fly from site to site all over northern Manitoba. After about a year of trying to find a confluence close to where we work, on July 7th I saw that we would be really close to 59N 95W just south of the Seal River. However, it was not my day to work, Graham, another geologist in the crew, was working that day. So I thought I would need to wait another time to visit a confluence.
So on the morning of July 8, I feel like sleeping in a little bit, deciding not to go running at 7:30 with Lyndsey (our third geologist), when I get a call from Graham indicating that our assistant did not show up at the helipad. As a result I decide to get out of bed and go working, forgetting about the confluence.
A whole day of work later, we decide to check out a few more sites before returning home to Churchill. Luckily I remembered that the confluence was almost directly in line with our route, so we plan a quick stop over at 59N 95 W.
We do a quick fly over and notice that the point may actually be on one of the two lakes. But we may be lucky so we land on the 10m wide strip between the lakes. Do a little bit of walking around trying to find the location, walking in circles until we hit it: our GPS reads N 59. 00000˚, W 095. 00000˚. Yes! We did it. Luckily we were 2 meters from one of the lakes!
Though short of the Arctic Circle here in northern Manitoba, the landscape north of Churchill is just like the arctic. In one word: Tundra. The trees are sparse, short and far between so close to the treeline. The ground is rocky and covered in moss with a few berries and flowers and not much else.
So Graham and I, with the help of Harold our pilot take the mandatory pictures, celebrate, have a smoke, reflect on the whole degree confluence idea and it’s time to return home.
So we know that we may not have to spend days of hiking or crawl through swamps or jump fences or hike waist deep streams to get to the confluence, but we are still happy and proud to have aided the Degree Confluence Project. Canada definitely needs all the help in can to cover its territory!
Coordinator's Note: I added picture #9 to give some perspective about the area of the confluence. The area covered by the N-15-55_2000 Landsat mosaic image is shown by the small Map View window in the upper left corner. The body of water to the right is Hudson's Bay. The confluence location is marked by the small 'dot' to the left of the label. In the lower right corner of the image are superimposed two 'closeup' views of the confluence location. The upper one shows the intersection of 59N and 95W, and the lower one barely shows the thin strip of land between the two lakes. With the width of that strip of land, and the number of lakes/ponds in the area, it's very lucky that the confluence was so easily visited!