the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Washington

8.0 miles (12.8 km) N of Glacier, Whatcom, WA, USA
Approx. altitude: 765 m (2509 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 49°S 58°E

Accuracy: 6 m (19 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: East, with the confluence marker flag in the foreground #3: South #4: West #5: GPS, at location where pictures were taken #6: Jade Bay boat ramp, Cultus Lake Provincial Park

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  49°N 122°W (visit #3) (secondary) 

#1: NorthEast from the confluence, looking up the cliff

(visited by Dave Patton)

14-Sep-2001 -- I departed Vancouver at 9:30AM, drove East on Highway 1, and took exit 104 towards Cultus Lake Provincial Park. I turned left onto Cultus Lake Road, and eventually left on Frost Road.

At 11:30AM I was at the start of an old logging road that heads uphill from Frost Road. After driving up this road for about 4km, I reached a spot where it was too dangerous to drive further, due to erosion in a washout, so I parked my Pathfinder. This is the same parking spot that Tim used in his attempt on August 17th.

The elevation at this point is 760m, and the confluence was only 1.17km away. I set out to hike to the confluence at 12:22PM.

I knew from the topographic maps that the confluence was at about 760m elevation, so my plan was to try and remain at the same elevation, following the "contour line" to the confluence, rather than heading in a straight line. For much of the hike it was hard to get GPS signals, due to the topography and tree cover.

By 2PM I reached a clearing, having crossed at least 7 small streams. Although I had been hiking for over one and a half hours, I was still 158m from the confluence. When first approaching the clearing, I thought that it was perhaps related to the 6m wide boundary vista that marks much of the Canada/US border. The clearing was full of fallen trees, but didn't seem to have any purpose.

Getting to the confluence from the clearing proved to be quite difficult - covering the remaining 158m took over half an hour. The area seems to have been logged at some time in the past, with lots of old fallen logs, and it also looks like the area has had newer growth trees just cut down and left, perhaps as part of clearing the boundary vista. I took the approach of trying, where possible, to walk on fallen trees or the older logs, but even so, the going was slow.

The marker flag that I placed "at the confluence" ( Picture #2) is actually located at 49°N 122° 00" 0.3'W, which is 6m from the 'all zeros' spot, but as you can see from the picture, it would have been difficult to take any pictures of anything other than tree branches at the actual confluence spot. As shown on the GPS, the rest of the confluence pictures were taken 15m from the confluence, and they show not only the dense foliage, but also the steep terrain above the confluence.

The Canada/US border is defined by straight lines between boundary monuments, and along the 49th parallel, nowhere does the border actually run exactly along 49°N, but rather it zig-zags back and forth above and below 49°N. I couldn't tell from the confluence location if any of the fallen trees were part of the boundary vista. The nearest boundary monument to the confluence is Monument 45, which is located 1.4km to the west.

At 3:20PM I left the confluence to hike back to the car. I had seen parts of old roads on the hike in, and thought that maybe there was one just a little ways below the confluence area, and that this would make the hiking easier. It turned out however to not be the case, as there was no road. As on the way in, the first part of the hike, near the confluence, was very difficult and slow. At one point I found a fallen tree to walk along. Although it gained me probably 75 feet of walking without having to climb over/under/around other fallen trees, it was still slow going, as the tree was about 5 feet above the ground, and in places was surrounded by 8-foot tall Devil's Club. I used the same approach on the way back of trying to stay at the same elevation, and reached the car at 5:13PM.

As I mentioned earlier, it was sometimes hard to get GPS signals. As if that alone wasn't a good enough illustration of why you should always carry a map and compass (and know how to use them), when I reached the car, my GPS was telling me I still had 44m to go before reaching the waypoint I had set at the car when I started the hike.

I stopped briefly on the trip back at one of the boat ramps in Cultus Lake Park to take a picture. Due to the amount of time taken by the hike, it was too late in the day to be able to buy any fresh fruits and vegetables from the various produce stands along the road between the park and the highway.

 All pictures
#1: NorthEast from the confluence, looking up the cliff
#2: East, with the confluence marker flag in the foreground
#3: South
#4: West
#5: GPS, at location where pictures were taken
#6: Jade Bay boat ramp, Cultus Lake Provincial Park
ALL: All pictures on one page
The borderline with Canada is passing 370 ft north of the Confluence.