the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Vermont

5.4 miles (8.7 km) SW of Stratton, Windham, VT, USA
Approx. altitude: 663 m (2175 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 43°S 107°E

Accuracy: 6 m (19 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: GPS at the confluence #3: View East @ 43N 73W #4: View North @ 43N 73W #5: View South @ 43N 73W #6: View West @ 43N 73W #7: Annie & Charlie rest @ confluence #8: Deerfield river north of Searsburg #9: Suspension bridge over Deerfield river #10: 5km long wooden water pipe

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  43°N 73°W (visit #3)  

#1: Confluence with camouflaged Geocache box

(visited by Charlie Worrick and Annie Taber)

12-May-2007 --
This narrative describes the visit to the confluence at 43N 73W.

The goal of this day trip was to capture two confluences at the 43rd parallel; 73W and 74W, and to visit Annie's dad, who lives midway between the two longitudes.

We left Cape Cod early on a Saturday, skirted around Boston on old rt 128, then took route 2 west, which becomes very scenic, once beyond the Boston suburbs and older industrial towns along the northern border of Massachusetts.
120km west of Boston, we encountered the Connecticut River, and turned north on interstate 91. The terrain thus far was gradually rising coastal plain, but the river marks a transition to the Appalacian Mnts., which are more like hills than mountains at this point in the range. The Appalacians in Massachusetts are called the Berkshires; just north of the border into Vermont, they are the Green Mountains.

15km into Vermont, we turned west again on rt 9. From the elevation of the river (approx 100m), the road quickly climbs to as much as 650m in less than 20km. The early spring forest foliage; barely a haze of yellow green leaf buds on trees near the river, disappeared with altitude until the bare hardwood branches cast the dull grey of winter on the surrounding 1000m peaks.

At Searsburg, Vermont, the Deerfield River flows in from the north. It drains a large watershed in the national forest, mostly uninhabited, crossed with numerous older logging roads. The more southern part of these lands are popular camping grounds. There is also a great deal of water management, with dams creating large reservoirs and ponds.
An interesting water conduit was seen snaking through the forest from Searsburg reservoir to Medburyville to the south. It was 3m diameter; constructed of wood staves and metal hoops; just like a barrel, but 5km long!

We drove north on a good quality gravel road, following the river, passing campgrounds already populated by hardy sportmen. Our maps indicated that these roads would take us to within 100m of the confluence.

Not so lucky, we encountered a locked gate on the road, 5km south of the confluence, where the Glastenbury river joins the Deerfield.

The weather was agreeable, we felt fit, so decided to hike the road to the confluence. Accompanying Annie & I was Harley the dog, a robust ShihTzu who had prior proven hiking performance, in spite of short legs.

The forest was 80% spruce and balsam fir at the start of the hike. This composition changed as we hiked. There were some swatches with few conifers. The hardwoods were 70% yellow & paper birch, with the remainder maple and oak. The flood plains of the river were full of skunk cabbage. Several beaver communities were in place along the streams, with fully maintained lodges and dams. In the hillier hardwood areas, ground cover was especially pretty, with pink spring beauty in bloom, dotted with yellow trout lily, and some early purple trillium.

As we neared the confluence, the road quality declined, the elevation increased, and the trail became spongy and muddy. When the GPS read exactly 43N, we turned east and entered a woods of young trees, most of which were no larger than 2-3cm diameter. After a short 50m walk the confluence was reached.
Seconds later, a new surprise; on the ground, exactly at the intersection was a geocache box, discreetly camouflaged as a rock. We opened it and discovered it to be GC10KZ1, named Prime Lines. (because 43 and 73 are both prime numbers).
We exchanged some of the treasure, filled out a log entry, took pictures of the GPS, and the compass points, rested in the silence for a while, then started back.

One unique aspect of this location; the place was completely uniform in appearance, without any directional indicator. I've been to other confluences in forests, but I've never seen a place so devoid of any identifiable features. The forest was dense enough to limit visibility to about 25m. It was a sunny day, and I'm a good enough astronomer that I could determine direction, knowing the time of day. But if it were overcast, and if the GPS went dead, it would have been impossible to determine which way to go. The leaf litter underfoot did not leave prints to follow back.
I began to feel a strange fear; a kind of claustrophobia in the open, and a very strong dependency on the GPS to keep us safe.

The walk back to the car completed a 11km round trip, and we set off for the next destination at 43N 74W.

 All pictures
#1: Confluence with camouflaged Geocache box
#2: GPS at the confluence
#3: View East @ 43N 73W
#4: View North @ 43N 73W
#5: View South @ 43N 73W
#6: View West @ 43N 73W
#7: Annie & Charlie rest @ confluence
#8: Deerfield river north of Searsburg
#9: Suspension bridge over Deerfield river
#10: 5km long wooden water pipe
ALL: All pictures on one page