17-Nov-2018 -- As I had been in Michigan all week, and as the purpose of my visit was to support the use of geotechnology and spatial thinking throughout education, and as this week was Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day, I could not resist getting out in the field to add to my tidy set of Michigan confluence points. And so, awakening two hours before dawn, en route to the Detroit airport from Central Michigan University, I set out for 45 North 84 West. Never mind that it was in the complete opposite direction. As that visit turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated, except for icy roads, on the way to the airport, I still had a short time to attempt 44 North 84 West. I knew the private property issues that I would encounter as well as snowy and wet conditions, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus, the point had not been visited in nearly 20 years.
I approached the area from the north, Highway 33, and then on a road that paralleled I-75, then southeast to Townline Road, and then straight west. Quite a bit of snow had fallen today. I kept going at the turn to Deep River Road, proceeding straight west at a very slow pace. The road conditions became worse and worse. I decided to back up, equally slowly, as there was nowhere to turn around, all the way back to Deep River Road. Once there, I parked as best I could as to not get stuck, gathered supplies, and set out back along the road. I saw two hunters ahead of me in orange reflective clothing. Was this a smart thing for me to be out here without that type of clothing? After 10 minutes, I stopped at a hunters cabin and knocked; no answer. The hunters were still out. I walked west some more along the road and sadly, saw signs every 30 meters or so reading "No Trespassing." This looked pretty serious. Even if the signs had not been there, though, the terrain looked pretty impassible, and I would not have gone further anyway: Deep pools of freezing water, hidden stumps and rocks, slush and thorns.
Once at 84 West, I took pictures in all directions. It was a late autumn afternoon, temperature about 25 F (-4 C) under, now, partly cloudy skies and fortunately little wind here in the trees. I saw no animals, birds, and no additional people. The confluence lies in an area with some younger trees; perhaps the whole area had been cut in the past. I have stood on 44 North several times in the past, from South Dakota on the west to New Hampshire on the east. I have also stood on 84 West several times in the past, from Michigan on the north (one degree north of here) to Georgia on the south, and further on down in Costa Rica at 10 North 84 West. Thanks to my trips to Michigan over the past 15 years, I have a nice tidy collection of Michigan confluence points, even including one in the Upper Peninsula. It was a peaceful place with just a hint of noise from the state highway. I was reluctant to depart, but arriving here had taken so many hours that I needed to, in order to make my airplane flight. It had been a great year of confluencing in Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and across the USA in fields in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, to a street in suburban Chicago, and beyond. I do not favor "attempts" but it was better than no attempt at all. I had a similar private property issue at another place on 44 North, west of here in Wisconsin. I highly advise any future persons in this area to heed the signs as I did and ask permission at one of the properties along the north side of the road. I would also advise that the attempt be made when you have a clear view of the ground; that is, no snow. Also--wear waders! It will likely be wet here at any time of the year. This is glacial influenced terrain; very boggy and marshy.
I walked back to the east, to my vehicle. My round trip hike was probably 45 minutes; it was slow walking on the rutty, icy, and muddy road; a lonely road, too. But very pleasant. I then drove south, and not far from the confluence I found that the land use is much more developed. It was almost like night and day. I drove through Bay City and thought of the Bay City Rollers, a wonderful 1970s band, who named their band after this town, even though they were not from Michigan (from Scotland, actually). I successfully made my flight out of Detroit. Get out there and explore the world!