This narrative describes an expedition to the confluence at 44N 70W. The effort was the first event in a collection of mid winter group adventures in the woods of Maine.
After studying maps & reviewing reports from previous visits, we decided that an approach from the south, beginning on the east side of Ward Road would minimize the access distance.
We parked on Ward Road, at the last point visited by a snowplow, and walked west along the road, searching for a trail head that appears on the latest USGS topo map.
No obvious trail heads were in evidence, but at the approximate location there was a driveway leading to a private residence. We spoke with the property owner, and explained our hope of finding an access into the forest to the north. She responded with some familiarity to our problem. A geocache is also hidden at this confluence, and she has been previously asked for the same access permission.
Permission granted, we donned snowshoes, and proceeded to find a cleared path heading northeast, along the crude trail indicated on the topo map.
We followed someone else's fresh snowshoe tracks for 500m. We were wondering if we would meet another confluencer or cacher en route, but the tracks ended abruptly, and we began a bushwhack to the east.
The terrain was characterized in two different ways.
The forest parts were densely packed small tree growth; mostly hemlock & maple. There were few trees larger than 10cm diameter, the average size was 5cm or less. We were constantly breaking the smaller branches or ducking larger limbs. On a few occasions, low rock ledges appeared on the forest floor. We walked atop these ledges when possible; they were a welcome interruption from the trees.
There were also patches of wetlands along the route. At this time of year, they were well frozen & covered deeply in snow. They afforded us an open view, but were troublesome to cross, being full of low dense bushes which tangled in our snowshoes.
After 1.5 hours on the trail, we finally came to the confluence. The usual protocol ensued; we danced about to get the zeroes, took the directional photos, then started back, retracing our circuitous path.
The weather was light overcast with no wind, approx. -5C. We saw no animals, but found a tree scarred by bear scratching. At one point in the hike an odd percussive sound was heard in the near distance; possibly the drumming of a ground fowl. There was also the expected collection of small mammal tracks in the snow.
We re-emerged into the private residence backyard, and helped the owner jump start her vehicle, then continued on to western Maine for the remainder of our winter adventures.