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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : California

3.4 miles (5.5 km) WSW of Whitethorn (Humboldt), Mendocino, CA, USA
Approx. altitude: 658 m (2158 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 40°S 56°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: GPS recevier #3: Jeff and Jules a little damp at the confluence #4: Jeff and Jim compare GPS coordinates #5: Geocache placed at site

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  40°N 124°W (visit #2)  

#1: Jules meets Beth and she inspects the geocache

(visited by Juliana Sasken and Jeff Mock)

20-Jan-2001 -- This is our first confluence. 40N 124W lies about 200 miles north of our homes in San Francisco.

We set out early Saturday morning for an ambitious day trip and reached the Walaiki campground in the King Range Conservation Area at about 12:30pm PST. The Wailaki campground was empty except for us. Walaiki, which takes its name from the Walaiki dialect spoken by Native Americans indigenous to the area, has about a dozen rustic campsites, each equipped with fireplaces, and there are two very clean latrines. For a dollar per day, the campground is quite a bargain.

According to our topo map, we were expecting about a two-mile hike with a steep climb at the beginning. The trail passes within about 100 feet of the confluence on the ridgeline of Chemise Mountain. We set out on our hike to the confluence at about 1pm PST. The weather was overcast. The mistiness continually threatened to break into a full rain, but never actually did, so we managed to remain relatively dry. Bigfoot is rumored to wander in these hills which have a distinct Blair Witch aura, so we were on our guard. Despite the remoteness of the location, we should have kept our eyes open for more urban prowlers.

While the confluence technically lies in Mendocino County, one approaches the spot by hiking through the woods of Humboldt County. From the campground, we ascended about 800 feet through redwoods, fern, moss, and manzanita. Near the confluence, the ground levels into a quieter pinier plateau. The smell becomes vaguely chemical. The bark of the low bushes and shrubs has a sheen.

At a GPS reading of just 42 feet from the confluence we heard some cackling. Heading in the direction of the laughter and the confluence, we came upon Jim and Beth, who had arrived at the confluence about an hour before. After hiking about 2 miles through woods, which are supposedly some of the least traveled forest areas in Northern CA, we were surprised to find two people already there. It was disappointing to not be first, but it was funny to run into other displaced San Franciscans holding GPS receivers in the middle of the wilderness.

We left a Geocache at the confluence, and Jim and Beth were the first people to make an entry into our Pesky Confluence GeoCache Logbook. There is a Polaroid camera in the GeoCache that other people will hopefully use to leave a record of their visit. As it turns out, confluences are nice places to socialize.

We lingered a little while taking pictures and hiked back. We stopped for dinner at the Purple Thistle in Willits, CA and then continued home from our long pilgrimage.

Jules and Jeff


 All pictures
#1: Jules meets Beth and she inspects the geocache
#2: GPS recevier
#3: Jeff and Jules a little damp at the confluence
#4: Jeff and Jim compare GPS coordinates
#5: Geocache placed at site
#6: Scenery near confluence
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)