22-Jan-2005 -- This is my first attempt at reaching a Degree Confluence. I want to thank Dave Patton for pointing this project out on a reply he made to my post on the alt.satellite.gps newsgroup. Now my buddies and I have a purpose for our former aimless winter wanderings on snowmobile.
January 22, 2005 was a balmy -14C when we started out for 61N 115W. I was joined by my buddies Warren and Kris. After nearly two weeks of sub -30C weather with sub -40C windchills...we were happy to get outdoors!
We started from the town of Hay River onto Great Slave Lake at approx. 12:30 hours on a heading of about 60 degrees. The total distance to be covered to the DC was 46.5kms.
It was fairly difficult going as the overcast sky created very poor depth perception making it hard to see the whoops and ooops of our track. Anyone that has done snowmobile riding on a lake can attest to the roughness that can occur especially on large lakes like Great Slave Lake. The snowdrifts are one issue but the really problem are the pressure ridges! Some can send ridges of ice up taller than most men!. Dealing with the ridges is one thing, but it is the newly forming ridges that can cause real problems. Pic #4 shows a newly forming pressure ridge that we photographed on the way back. Note the opening crack in the ice.
We travelled along at about 60-80km/hour and stopped often to check our heading. Navigating with no reference points on the horizon is very difficult. Other than the certain points of the pressure ridges, we had no visual reference to follow on the horizon. The GPS was critical to reach our destination.
Warren commented that the whiteness of the lake surface and the overcast sky seem to blend into one at some points so that there would appear to be no horizon at all!
After 54.3 kms we reached 61 Degrees North latitude and 115 Degrees West Longitude at approximately 13:55 hours. The GPS says it all! Sorry...not much to look at but ice, ice and more ice! The shoreline in the distance is looking due south from the target DC.
I did take a pic or two of the boys and a pic or two of the lake shore.
The trip back was uneventful as the sun was popping through which really helped out with the depth perception of the lake surface. Navigating was also easier as at about 30kms out we could see the highrise (highest building in Hay River) on the horizon. We came across a net set under the ice for fish where there was a large flock of ravens ravaging the fisherman's scraps and culls. The return trip was about 45 minutes and only 48.5 kms.