23-Oct-2023 -- As I just arrived in the area for two geographic events; first, a visit to Youngstown State University in Ohio; second, presenting at the applied geography conference in Pittsburgh, and as those events were geographic in nature, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect starting point. In addition, since my 15 visit four-day confluence trip back in May 2023, I had not had the opportunity to visit a confluence point; thus was feeling a bit in need to get out into the field. Hence one fall day found me driving north from the Pittsburgh airport on an absolutely beautiful fall day: Rolling hills, small river valleys and towns, and trees of purple and orange were around every turn of my route.
This point was the only point within drivable distance before the sun set on my first day in this area. When I got behind a slow-moving school bus in one of the townships, I started to wonder whether I would actually make it there before dark. However, I arrived on site with at least an hour before sunset. I did so through combination of county roads and state highways with a few US highways as well. The Frank Preston conservation area with its lake was particularly lovely with the autumn-tinged trees dotting the shoreline, but I had no time to stop. All along, I had planned to do what my colleague on a previous visit had done, which was to hike from northeast of the point to the southwest, along a faint trail that proceeds from a frontage Road of a state highway (8). I turned southeast on state highway 8, onto the frontage road, and parked there.
First, I donned my raincoat, as I was wearing my work clothes, to help mitigate any tearing from thorns. I changed into my tennis shoes, hoping there would not be too much mud. It was very thorny indeed and it was also very wet. Today was sunny and warm, but obviously had it rained here not long ago: The ground was very muddy. However, I trekked along to the southwest rather briskly despite the thorns and stones and soon reached the end of the trail in a boggy area.
I started up the steep slope to the south: After 20
minutes of wandering up and down a very steep, rocky, and slippery slope, I finally called it good enough with about 10 meters more or less horizontal accuracy. The GPS had me go uphill and then downhill, then back up. I could have stood there longer and zeroed out the unit in both the x and y directions, but the sun was sinking and I had work to do this evening. The confluence therefore lies either on the north facing or northwest facing steep slope, or else in the deep valley where the GPS reception is poor. I saw no animals or birds, and no ground creatures; just a few spider webs. It was late afternoon in mid autumn with temperature about 63°F. It is a beautiful spot in the forest with the best view off to the northwest down the slope. The area is primarily farms, recreation, small towns, and commuter properties.
It was good to be back in Pennsylvania, where I have many points collected over the past 25 years, including a point this past April just 2° east of here. I also have the very significant point 1° south of here which is 40° north 80° west. With the metropolitan areas of Youngstown and Pittsburgh so close by, it is good to see that there is a lot of rural land left, thankfully. I have stood on 41° numerous times all the way from Utah on the west over to New Jersey on the east. I have also stood on 80° west many times from Canada on the north (44 north) down to South Carolina on the south (32 north). I took photographs and filmed a video which I have placed at this location.
I needed to get to the Youngstown State University campus where I was speaking and teaching tomorrow; thus I only stood after calling my position good enough for about 10 minutes before trekking out the way I came. I had been managing to keep my shoes in fairly good condition but on the way out, I stepped right in the middle of the bog and got very muddy. All in all I was in the field about 50 minutes out in back from the vehicle. I then had a beautiful drive into Ohio on some more wonderful back roads. Get out onto the landscape!