10-Sep-2004 -- Having been “beaten to the punch” at two other confluences (36N138E & 54N101W) I was determined to find a confluence that was not too accessible, yet not too remote, either. 56N100W seemed to fit the bill, as it is relatively close to Thompson, Manitoba, where I work in the summer and yet a 10km walk into the bush. As an added bonus, once you look at a topo map of the area, a high-tension power line runs within 2km of the confluence, adding to the ease of access.
Andy and I set off up Hwy 391 on a cool, grey morning. After an hour-and-a-half drive, we parked the car at the side of the highway where the power line crossed. The service track under the line made for fast, easy walking at first, as long as we stayed out of the ruts. Within 15 minutes, however, the going got a little tougher as we dropped down the side of a ridge and a Beaver pond blocked our way. As the track by this time was perpendicular to our course, we set off cross-country (still following the power line) through an old forest fire burn, figuring to hit the track again later on. The pond half-flooded the burn, leaving us little choice but to scramble over fallen trees, and balance along the rest, with a cold soaking waiting if we slipped. Back on the track again, we crossed several marsh areas, but by skirting around the edges, we always managed to keep our feet dry. Eventually, an extensive swamp blocked the track and we decided to take the most direct line we could. Knee-deep water and mud, and waist-high grass introduced us to the life of a Moose. Thankfully, the day was fairly cool, so there were no bugs to contend with.
After 7 or so km, the GPS needle pointed off down a ridge to our left, which the map indicated would take us to the goal. The open forest made for fairly easy walking, but several other old fire burns were a hard push, over old stumps and logs and bare rock outcrops and through dense new growth. It took us about 2 hours to go 7km on the trail, and nearly the same time to go 1.5km off-trail. Thankfully, near the confluence, the ground became much easier to travel over, with fewer rocky sections, and no swamps.
The sky had been threatening rain all morning, and just before we reached the confluence, it stared to rain. The confluence was located at the edge of a small clearing in an old fire burn. Sadly, I couldn’t get the GPS to zero out – it always jumped by .003 as I tried to narrow down the exact location. As the rain was getting heavier, and the mosquitoes and black flies were beginning to swarm around us, we took our photos, ate our lunch and headed back the way we had come. Four hours later, with darkness arriving, and torrential rain pouring around us, we arrived back at the car, and drove back to Thompson.