03-Nov-2015 -- I came across the Degree Confluence Project a little over a year ago and have since been looking for a primary confluence that hadn’t been previously visited to start things off. Luckily around that same time I got a position that would be involved with the construction of the Muskrat Falls Transmission line. The transmission line will run from Muskrat Falls to Soldier Pond across Newfoundland and Labrador opening access to many remote areas.
I quickly noted that confluence 52°N, 57°W would be located just 1.85km north of the proposed transmission line. Originally I was excited by how conveniently located this confluence was. 1.85km, no problem! However, having experienced the bush of Labrador elsewhere and reading other regional confluence hunter reports I changed my tune and mentally prepared myself for a long slog of tangled thickets and impassable wetlands.
The day of the visit while doing my rounds I arrived at the closest distance between the confluence point and the access road approximately 80km from the town of Forteau. Leaving my truck at 12:30pm I hoped to complete the visit inside of my lunch break. It was -5°C and overcast with the odd snowflake and I soon became appreciative of the cooler temperatures, as I soon found out that the large network of wetland I was entering had mostly frozen over. This made for much quicker navigation also I found that the upland areas were few and for the most part not completely tangled with tuckamore. The favourable conditions meant I arrived at the confluence at 1:00PM, just 30 minutes later! I’ll crop this up to beginner’s luck :). My eTrex 20 GPS displayed an accuracy of 3m and elevation of 382m, but most importantly all zeros.
The confluence point is located within a very large bog system interspersed with rocky upland islands and open water ponds. The dominant plant species I observed at the confluence point were stunted Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Tamarack (Larix laricina) and Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) on the upland knoll to the south. While within the wetland to the north, east and west the dominants were Tussock’s sedge (Carex stricta), Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia) and Leather leaf (Chamadaphne calyculata).
Following my footsteps back I arrived at the truck by 13:45 just a little over an hour after my departure. Feeling accomplished and thoroughly pleased with my first confluence visit.
A note to future confluence hunters, this site would have been extremely wet prior to freeze up and thusly much more difficult to get to. Also the access road I used to arrive within 1.85km of the confluence point is currently a radio controlled construction site. Local residents have been known to use it to gain easier access to fishing/hunting cabins already, but waiting for the construction activities to be completed (estimated sometime in 2016) would be the safer option. The transmission line will also eventually pass to the north of confluences 52°N, 58°W (~25km) and 52°N, 59°W (~40km) if anyone has been eyeing those.