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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Virginia

2.8 miles (4.5 km) W of Paris (Fauquier), Clarke, VA, USA
Approx. altitude: 396 m (1299 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 39°S 102°E

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Even in winter, branches partly obscure the view to the north from 39N 78W. #3: Even in winter, branches partly obscure the view to the east from 39N 78W. #4: Even with a nice cover of snow, the view to the south can’t be called scenic. #5: “A tangle of winter brush” describes the view to the west from 38N 79W. #6: Even with no leafy vegetation, ten zeroes frequently came and went. #7: he Appalachian Trail, pictured here snow covered to the south of the road, crosses U.S. Highway 50 at Ashby Gap. #8: The first winter view of the frequently documented old chimney located just south of 39N 78W. #9: Signs of the Appalachian Trail in winter. #10: Three cp views: a vine wrapped tree, the view overhead, and one of many trunks with no sign of a plaque placed by Sgt. Zeno.

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  39°N 78°W (visit #7)  

#1: 39N 78W lies just on the other side of this fallen tree.

(visited by Woody Harrell)

28-Feb-2007 -- A Prelude to a Long Walk: From auto rickshaw to ultralight aircraft, the DCP's “Methods of Transportation” page lists 29 means of conveyance people have used to date to reach cp’s around the world. In going to the water based points, I’m sure someone like Captain Peter has sailed thousands of miles in a single voyage to reach a particular targeted cp. But, for the vast majority of confluence hunters, at the end, we usually must rely on our own two feet to reach the exact spot. Which brings us to the question: What is the longest distance a person has continuously hiked to record a successful confluence visit? And what might be a possible future record for the longest walk to a cp?

Which brings us to 39N 78W, a cp within a half mile of the famed Appalachian Trail. The AT is a long distance hiking trail running from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mt. Katahdin in Maine (or vice versa). Begun in 1925, the trail today measures 2175 miles. For several years I have talked about retiring some January and the following March joining the 1000+ through-hikers who follow spring north in an effort to complete the long walk in a single attempt. Being in the Washington D.C. area, I decided to reconnoiter such a future endeavor, especially the practicality of a confluence point stop along the way…

I traveled west on U.S. 50 heading towards the Blue Ridge Mountains through Loudoun County’s town of Middleburg, where an ancestor of mine had been wounded during the American Civil War. Past Upperville (Fauquier County) the road climbed towards Ashby Gap, and the Clarke County line. About six inches of snow had covered the area during the previous weekend. Much of this was already gone from the open fields below, but with the shade and higher elevation, the AT was a cold white path heading up from the gap towards the ridge line. On this last day of February, the sun was shining, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer winter day to be out in the woods. Heading south I encountered only a single set of northbound footprints on the snowy trail. About an hour later I stood where the gas pipeline crosses the AT.

A northbound through hiker would already have 974 miles under his belt when he reaches the pipeline cut. 55% of the trail (1201 miles) would still remain before Katahdin. Obviously this would be a great place to take a break. If you could hide your heavy pack in the woods, a jaunt downhill and back to 39N 78W would make a great diversion.

So, let’s see, if I started out on the AT around March 15th, and averaged around fourteen miles per day, I could make it here from Georgia in a little over eleven weeks. I’d say the end of May would be a good target date. OK, let’s put that on the list of things to do. Maybe in 2009…


 All pictures
#1: 39N 78W lies just on the other side of this fallen tree.
#2: Even in winter, branches partly obscure the view to the north from 39N 78W.
#3: Even in winter, branches partly obscure the view to the east from 39N 78W.
#4: Even with a nice cover of snow, the view to the south can’t be called scenic.
#5: “A tangle of winter brush” describes the view to the west from 38N 79W.
#6: Even with no leafy vegetation, ten zeroes frequently came and went.
#7: he Appalachian Trail, pictured here snow covered to the south of the road, crosses U.S. Highway 50 at Ashby Gap.
#8: The first winter view of the frequently documented old chimney located just south of 39N 78W.
#9: Signs of the Appalachian Trail in winter.
#10: Three cp views: a vine wrapped tree, the view overhead, and one of many trunks with no sign of a plaque placed by Sgt. Zeno.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
1000 ft from the Appalachian Trail.