15-Apr-2018 -- Imagine a gathering of over 8,500 geographers at the American Association of Geographers annual conference and not one confluence point being visited.
Determined not to let that happen, I, Joseph Kerski, set out one fine spring day to visit one. I have visited a point during most of the AAG conferences since 2003, and had been looking forward to this one. As the conference was in New Orleans, the point at 30 North 90 West was nearest, but I had already visited that point twice, and with security concerns being what they are nowadays, and the point being adjacent to the intracoastal waterway, I did not want to spend my day discussing whether I could visit with the port of New Orleans security staff. Thus, I found myself Uber-ing to the airport and then renting a car at the airport so I could visit 32 North 91 West. The added benefit would be that I could get into the rural area, so needed after a fruitful but urban week in New Orleans.
I awakened before 5:00am so I could be at the rental car counter by 6:00, and was thus at daybreak driving northwest over the marshlands on I-10 toward I-55. Driving north on I-55 I was blessed with seeing a beautiful sunrise over Lake Ponchartrain. Near the Mississippi border I took a break but not long, as I had aims to visit more than one point today before my flight left the New Orleans area from this same airport. Around Brookhaven, Mississippi, things became more interesting when I left the interstate and wound on county and state highways northwest toward 32 North 91 West. The landscapes and the towns were lovely and varied. The town of Port Gibson, nearest the confluence, contained a magnificent courthouse and an abandoned factory just west of town. I passed the factory and then drove northeast on Grand Gull Road. Many historical markers were nearby but I kept to my goal. I parked, gathered supplies, and at the top of the hill, set out walking to the southeast.
I had been wondering what the building on the road visible on the satellite image was, and it turned out to be a garage of some sort. For about 15 minutes, I walked past a few farm buildings but largely was in the clear and not woods until I descended a thorny slope and then walked in the trees, spaced about 25 feet apart, far enough where I did not lose GPS signal. As always, I was a little nervous about walking around in fields, and encountering a dog or a person, but had my landowner permission letter with me. It was a Sunday. After about 10 minutes in this field, I was able to achieve zero-zero centeredness. It was a beautiful place, just south of a fair-sized gully. The sun shone through the trees and the temperature stood at around 65 degrees F (18 C), around 10am. The confluence lies on flat ground covered by these trees and by grasses; it is not cultivated but could have been grazed in the past.
I had stood on 32 North several times in the past 15 years, from a dry field with an oil rig on it in Texas on the west to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Georgia on the east. I had also stood on 91 West a few times, from being chest-high in marsh grass in Wisconsin on the north to a swampy marsh in Louisiana on the south. It was great to be at this confluence point, my first since being in Spain last month, and I stood there for a few minutes before departing the way I had come in. I prefer circular routes, going a different way in than out, but I knew the way and had other destinations in mind today... namely, the point one degree to the west of this one, in Louisiana. Would I make it? I arrived back at the vehicle with about one hour total walk and visit time. Get out there and explore the world!