14-Oct-2001 -- My trek to the most remote confluence in Oregon began at 3:45AM when I left my home in Portland, Oregon. Ahead of me was a "Farmer's Slam" breakfast at Denny's and a 176 mile drive down Interstate 5 and up the McKenzie River highway to the trailhead. I had hoped to find someone else to come along; my hiking partner couldn't quite squeeze in the time, both my older boys were busy with college and two "confluencing strangers" thought it sounded great but the timing was bad for them also. If I was going to get it done, it was going to be on me own, regardless of all the admonitions to "not go hiking alone."
I arrived at the trailhead at 7:45AM to find it drizzling and about 50°F. The hike really was uneventful. First I headed south on Trail #3529; immediately this takes you into the Three Sisters Wilderness, an area which is off-limits to all mechanical devices. All of the hike ranged in elevation from 4500' to 5000'; a week earlier an inch or two of snow had already fallen in this area, but by now it had melted. At 2.9 miles I came to the site of the old Ollallie Guard Station, now demolished by falling trees and covered with plastic tarps. Another 1.3 miles south along the trail brought me to the junction with Trail #3530; I took the left fork onto #3530 and continued another 2.0 miles to a point which was the closest approach to the confluence of N44 & W122.
Having now hiked 6.2 miles in a heavy drizzle without seeing a single soul, I was about to head off cross-country into an area that has essentially stayed unchanged for thousands of years. This area has never been logged and the only visitors to this area may have been sheepherders who summered their flocks in this area between 1890 and 1915.
The goal was only 0.27 miles to the southwest. I traveled the best line I could find through the wet brush and mix of hemlock and fir trees and with relative ease soon found myself alone at the confluence, in a slight opening of the forest, 6.5 miles from the road. I've checked all the other confluences in Oregon and the next most remote one is only a 2.6 mile hike, so I claimed this as "The most remote confluence in Oregon!"
A small geocache was tastefully placed at this point and can be seen on www.geocaching.com (N44-W122 $100 Confluence). The first five visitors to this confluence can earn $20 for their charity.
A rapid hike back out had me soaking wet and back at my car by 1:10PM, with time left over to explore the McKenzie and Santiam Pass areas before returning home.
Anyone planning to visit this confluence should consider that snow will begin falling in this area generally by late October and may linger on the ground until late June.