28-Sep-2019 -- As I had just arrived in the area for five days of keynote address, hands-on workshops, presentations, and meetings around the topic of geographic technologies, a confluence visit seemed like the most appropriate way to begin. And so, not long after arriving at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport, I was driving east out of Minnesota into Wisconsin for what I hoped was a doable confluence point. The easiest would have been 46 North 93 West, but I had visited it already back in 2011. And therefore, entering Wisconsin just east of Hinkley, I had enough daylight in front of me, and it was a glorious early autumn day. I visited 46 North 92 West an hour ago, and now was approaching 46 North 91 West. It would, I knew, be a bit more difficult than 92 West, but not as difficult as 46 North 90 West, and so I made it my goal.
From eastbound State Highway 77, I drove through Hayward, then, east through some beautiful rural roads, eventually ending on Highway 164, past the end of the pavement, to Highway 174. This area is filled with cottages and homes, but mostly is lakes and trees, and it was good to see the natural terrain and vegetation after spending so much time in urban areas. I parked quite a ways north of 46 North, and then walked southeast on the same road, to where I had spotted a faint track leading west-southwest on the satellite image. Sure enough, a trail was there, through the forest, and I took it to an even fainter trail leading northwest. Now it became truly difficult, with thorns but mostly mossy and slippery downed tree trunks and dense shrubbery. I wound for about 15 minutes in the trees, and walked through a bog, becoming soaked, before circling numerous times before finding the confluence point. On my first few steps through the bog, I almost got my shoe stuck in the mud underneath the water, and gingerly stepped my way out of it. The water was up to my knees. However, the ground was dry at the point and I suffered only a few scratches. Note to self: Stop walking next time until the GPS settles down. You might not have to get wet after all.
The confluence lies on hilly ground in a moderately dense forest of young trees; surely not the original forest cover. It was early autumn, clear skies, little wind, temperature about 67 F. Wildfires had occurred in this area, and perhaps these trees had grown up since the last fire. I saw no animals, birds, or people. It was an early autumn late afternoon. I reflected that I had stood on 46 North a number of times in the past, from Oregon on the west to New Brunswick Canada on the east. I had also stood on 91 West several times in the past, from one degrees south of here, at 45 North, to 30 South on the south end, about a decade ago in a swamp in Louisiana. I now have a nice tidy collection of points in just about every part of the state of Wisconsin, from the southeast along a street in Milwaukee to a field in the southwest part of the state, to a very wet wetlands trek in the northeast, to some marshes, fields, and woods here in the northwest part of the state. I would rate this point a 5 out of 10 in terms of difficulty--it is not far, but the trees and shrubs are dense. It is a beautiful site.
I had been, due to my circling, about 30 minutes on or near the point, and after all that circling, suddenly realized I no longer had my GPS bag. I had the GPS but no bag. The bag was red, and I am a bit red-green challenged color-wise, so I could not see it anywhere. I searched for about 10 minutes to no avail. I needed to depart as the sun was getting lower. If you are reading this narrative in the future and seeking this point, and happen to find my little zippered GPS bag, enjoy! I trekked back to the road but this was one of the times when the GPS track was necessary for me to get my bearings. I made it back to the gravel road. This was a great trek to a great state, a perfect beginning to my geo-related work trip, and I was thankful to be here. Get out there and explore the world!