the Degree Confluence Project

Canada : Northwest Territories

16.0 km (9.9 miles) ENE of Netla, NT, Canada
Approx. altitude: 198 m (649 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo topo250 ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 61°S 57°E

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: South #3: West #4: open area between the highway and the confluence, with pond to the left #5: GPS #6: nice view from the highway #7: barge access sign, and signpost at kilometer 140 marker #8: Wood Bison near Netsa River #9: Wood Bison beside highway near Fort Liard #10: NASA Landsat satellite image (early 1990s)

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  61°N 123°W  

#1: North

(visited by Dave Patton)

During August 2003 I drove through British Columbia and into the Northwest Territories on a combined confluence hunting and sightseeing trip. I started close to 49°N and went as far North as 61°N, covered 6,200 kilometers (3,850 miles), did 7 successful confluence visits, and had another 12 confluences that are incomplete. I made a map that shows the route, and the confluences in the order they were done, with the successful ones shown with black markers. The incomplete visits are a mix of actual attempts and situations where I drove somewhat close to the confluence, and included a 'visit' as a way to document the confluence location for future visitors. The first confluence on the trip was 52°N 121°W.

16-Aug-2003 -- After my incomplete visit to 60°N 123°W I continued north on the Liard Trail (Highway 7). The sign at the border had indicated a rough road ahead, and it was correct. The road was mainly gravel, but with short sections of pavement, however, often the pavement was the worst part, with potholes that you don't want to hit at high speed.

The Liard Trail was opened in 1984 to replace the winter road that connected Fort Nelson (British Columbia) and Fort Simpson (Northwest Territories). Access to communities and resource areas in the north is sometimes a bit different than people are used to. Sometimes barges are used to moved people, materials, and supplies. The Northwest Territories Parks and Tourism department has a webpage about Summer & Winter Driving, which includes information on Ferries (used when the rivers are flowing) and Ice Bridges (used when the rivers are frozen). You will see on some maps the indication for an airplane, or airstrip, along northern roads. These are often for emergency airstrips. I "drove through" some of these on the Liard Trail, as they consisted of a level, straight, stretch of the highway that had been widened.

40 kilomteres from the border, I took the turnoff to Fort Liard. After having a look around, and getting some gas, I drove back to the Liard Trail, and headed north. Unlike the section from the border to the Fort Liard turnoff, the road to the north was a well-maintained, wide, gravel road.

37 kilometers north of the Fort Liard turnoff, I stopped to take a picture of the nice view from the highway. 109 kilometers from the turnoff the highway crosses 123°W, with the confluence being 0.77 kilometers to the north. Shortly after this, very close to the 138 kilometer marker, the highway crosses 61°N, with the confluence 500 meters to the west. I drove a few kilometers further up the highway and turned around. At the 140 kilometer marker I took a picture of a sign showing distances to communities further north.

I parked my vehicle on the shoulder of the highway, at 61°N, and started walking to the west. After a short section of trees, I came to an open area. Initially I thought it was maybe an area that had at some point been cleared of trees, but I think it is natural. On the satellite image I have added a 200% zoom inset showing the confluence area. You can see the water in the pond, which is also visible in the photo looking east across the clearing. The clearing was mostly dried mud, so the area must fill up with water at times. The water level appears to rise a couple of feet, because the small trees growing in the mud, even out at the edges, don't have any branches on the lower section of their main stems, as if the base of the trees are in water part of the time.

Not long after passing through the clearing and over a small stream at it's edge, I approached the confluence. It was located just at the edge of a swamp, which you can see on the satellite image as a dark area.

I was happy to get to this confluence - it had been a couple of days since my last successful visit, this was the first primary confluence visit in the Northwest Territories, and it was the most northerly point on my trip. This confluence is 1,306.6 kilometers from my home, where I started this trip, but I had driven 3,265 kilometers to get to this point.

After walking back to the car, I headed south on the Liard Trail, leaving at 6:30PM. My plan was to drive back into British Columbia, almost to the Alaska Highway, and camp at the Beaver Lake Forest Service recreation site.

Typically, there was virtually no traffic on the highway, so I was able to enjoy the drive in the evening sunshine, with the music from the CD player, and the warm air blowing through the open windows. At one point the highway crosses the Netsa River, and there is a small bridge. Just as I crossed the bridge I saw a Wood Bison grazing on the bank beside the road. I stopped my car and was able to take some pictures and video before the bison crossed the road and went into the bushes on the other side. Wood Bison are larger than the plains bison, which is native to the North American prairies.

Further along the highway, close to the Fort Liard turnoff, I saw another bison. This one was walking along the side of the highway, paying no attention to any traffic.

I went into Fort Liard to get some gas, and make a couple of phone calls while I had cell phone coverage. 290 kilometers after leaving my parking spot for the confluence visit, I reached the Beaver Lake recreation site, just after 10PM.

The next confluence on this trip was 59°N 125°W.

 All pictures
#1: North
#2: South
#3: West
#4: open area between the highway and the confluence, with pond to the left
#5: GPS
#6: nice view from the highway
#7: barge access sign, and signpost at kilometer 140 marker
#8: Wood Bison near Netsa River
#9: Wood Bison beside highway near Fort Liard
#10: NASA Landsat satellite image (early 1990s)
ALL: All pictures on one page