03-Apr-2022 -- As I was in the state for a series of university and tribal college visits to support the use of geotechnologies in education, and as it had been 11 months since my last confluence visit and I was missing these field excursions so much, and as the focus of the confluence project is geotechnologies (mapping, GPS, and the land), I thought a fitting beginning to my Minnesota work this week was to visit 47 North 95 West. Owing to the time of the year, I deemed the visit to the points closer to my night's destination of Duluth, that of 47 North 93 and 94 West, just too potentially wet. They were in wetlands. It would not do to get my work clothes soaked before teaching and conducting meetings this week, so 47 North 95 West it had to be, as I had already visited all of the points south, southwest, and southeast of Duluth, on previous work trips since 2002.
I had visited several points over those past 20 years that were buried in snow, but I had never visited a point during a fierce snowstorm, to my knowledge. And yet as I neared the point, those were my exact thoughts, as the snow came flying horizontally at me. Yes, it was early April, and technically spring, but this was Minnesota and anything could happen. However, as I stopped my vehicle and set out on the short walk, the skies lifted. It would snow quite a bit later this evening, it turned out, but with the momentary lapse in the storm, I took it as a good sign. Even so, the landscape was buried in at least a half foot of snow, and the hike was very slow, watery, and icy. I enjoyed it though, given the wooded terrain. I brought my landowner permission letter though because this point lies on private land. I wondered about that, because there is a family camp to the east, along the lake, and I wondered how the family camp could be public if the land around here is all private.
I found the point to be just a few meters to the south of an east-west four wheel drive trail, in the trees. Given the heavy timber cover, I had to do the confluence dance for nearly 10 minutes beofre I could capture the zero-zero coordinates. I posted the video of the site on my Our Earth YouTube channel, here. The site definitely looks different from the summertime (August) visit nearly 9 years ago, showing that this area definitely experiences all four seasons! Furthermore, unlike some previous visits, I saw no animals or birds on this trek.
The land on which the confluence point sits is fairly flat with some rolling hills. The view is obscured by trees in all directions but from the trail, one can see about 50 meters in the east and west directions. Some small trees are growing among the tall ones, and here, the conifers were mixed with deciduous. The temperature today stood at about 44 degrees F (7 deg C) under cloudy skies and fortunately, little wind here in the trees. It was mid-afternoon in early April. It was above freezing but it would take many more mild days to melt the vast amount of snow lying everywhere. In the towns I passed, some drifts between buildings were still 4 feet high. This was a peaceful spot and one of the more beautiful of the points I have visited. This spot is not completely natural, though; it is definitely modified by people: First, many of the trees here have been planted for timbering and for aestherics. Second, a short distance to the east lies an outbuilding. I believe this building is for the maintenance of the golf course that lies to the southeast or to support the timbering operations here. Furthermore, a trail of sorts led to the building from the west and from the southeast, and just to the east of the point are stacked some wire and wooden fence supplies. Another building lies about a football field south of the confluence point.
This is truly a peaceful place, though the highway sounds from the road to the west still reached this point. I didn't want to depart, but as I had work to prepare this evening, I spent only 22 minutes total at the site. I have amassed about a half dozen points thus far in Minnesota, and this was my most northerly. I had stood on 47 North before, in Montana and in North Dakota. I had also stood on 95 West even more times, from Iowa down to Texas. It felt so good to be out on the landscape, even though my feet were a bit wet. But much drier than had I decided on 47/94 or 47/93, most certainly. Reluctantly, I made my way out. My adventures were not quite over because in a town to the east, Akeley, I photographed myself in the palm of an enormous statue of Paul Bunyan. What a great state! Get out there and explore the world!