17-Mar-2001 -- My son Robert and I looked at the topozone map, which seems to indicate that the
confluence is in the Nahtahala National Forest. Furthermore the topozone map, mapquest,
mapblast and the map in Garmin's Mapsource CD indicate that a road goes almost to the
confluence. So on March 10, 2001 we decide to try to get to it. We turned off of the main road
to a paved road, which became a dirt, but well-traveled road. We drove down the road and
came to a fork, which is not on any of the maps. We were sure the right side was the one we
want but there was a "No trespassing" sign on a tree by it. Since we didn't know if
the confluence was on this person's land, we tried various roads around to see if any of them
would circle back to it. We even attempted to cross the woods at one point but we soon
started down the steep side of a mountain and which led into very dense forest and were
0.6 miles from the confluence. We became concerned that when we get closer that we will
come upon some more "No Trespassing" signs and have to climb back without
getting to the confluence. We then decided to go back to the road with the sign. We
didn't think the owner would mind if we just drove on the road to ask permission to go to
the confluence. But just around the next curve in the road we came to a gate across it
with "No trespassing" and "No Hunting" signs. It was 1/2 mile from the
confluence. So we thought this one is going to be only an attempt. However I noticed a
phone number on the signs.
So Monday March 12, I called the number and talked to the owner, a Mr. Michael Lares, who
showed interest in the project even if he was a little unsure about what it was. He said he
appreciated us not trespassing and that we could come up there this coming weekend. He
told me he has a GPS would like see the confluence as well. He had never thought about
the fact his land had a confluence on it. I give him my phone numbers and email address.
On Friday March 16 I called Mr. Lares to verify Robert and I could come Saturday. We
talked a little bit and then he asks more for more information about the Degree Confluence
Project. I verbally gave him the URL, but we both agree it would be better if I emailed them.
So I send an email with the URL of the project, URL to Robert and my visit to N35 W83, and
the URL to Topozone map of N35 W84 and URL to the terraserver aerial photo.
He emailed me back saying for us to come up at about 3:00 PM and bring a chainsaw.
A tree was across the road to the back part of his land where the confluence was. He
said a 4 wheeler would have no trouble and a 2 wheeler could make it if you didn't stop. I
told him I would bring a chainsaw but I would have to get a new chain for it Saturday
So Saturday morning my wife June and I got a chain for the saw. Once home, I installed
the chain. Then June had me cut down three dead trees to "test" it. Once Robert
got there, we left taking the GPS, camera, tripod, water, chainsaw, and map. We got there
right at 3:00 and the gate was open. We drove down the road which went along a little
stream. At one point there are some little gnome statues in the stream by a small waterfall. It
seemed appropriate for gnomes to be overseeing the way to one of the magical places
where a GPS can show zeros. We went on and found a big truck on the side of a
hill/mountain. We got out and Mr. Lares introduced himself, and said he was talking to the
man about work he needed done. He told us to go on and he and Nicole would be back
there later. We went over a mound of gravel in the road and through a mud hole in a turn.
Then there was the tree across the road. So I got out the chainsaw. Robert and I cleared
the road with no trouble. When we went until the GPS said the confluence was to the right of
the road, it seemed to point up a steep slope. So Robert and I walked along the left side of the
slope seeing if wouldn't be as steep further along. It wasn't and we climbed up to the ridge.
But when we get to the ridge, the GPS pointed down the slope. As we came down we could
see the truck we came in. We finally wound up in a briar patch about 200 feet from the
truck. If we had gone to right instead of left of the steep slope, we would have gone
straight to the confluence. We took picture #6 of the GPS. I never got a picture of all zeros,
it would get close then I would take the picture and while my camera was recording, the
zeros would appear, then go away before I could take another picture. I then put the
camera on the tripod and got a picture of Robert and myself standing on the confluence.
About that time I heard Michael and Nicole. We yelled and waved our hats. They came up.
Michael said from the maps he knew the confluence was in this briar patch. He turns on his
Garmin Map 12 GPS. Once his GPS acquired the satellites we described what
we are doing to Nicole. She wanted to get a picture of the GPS with the all zeros showing.
She made Michael stand behind her with the camera until the zeros the showed up. Once
she got that, Michael said he was going to put some sort of marker at the confluence. I then
used the tripod to get picture #2 of all four of us on the confluence. The front row is Michael
and Nicole Lares the landowners and in the back is Allen (myself) and Robert Lacy. Then
Michael put his camera on the tripod and took a picture of the four of us. We then walked
down the slope back to our vehicles, and once were about 30 yards from the confluence,
I had Robert turn around and take picture #1, which is looking west to the confluence. This
picture is the one I think give the best impression of the area. It shows the mountains, the
briars, and the trees in the area.
Once are back to the road, we talked a little while about such things as there being wild
boar in these woods. After a pleasant visit with Michael and Nicole, we left.