10-Feb-2001 -- 48N 123W Confluence Report; Roxanne Everett, Trapper Robbins, Chris Weight
[Note: At the time of this visit and email circulation to the confluence egroup, we thought this was the first successful visit to confluence 48N 123W. However, it turns out that Torrey Hoffman went the week before us so we got the 2nd successful visit.]
10-Feb-01: Over scrumptious Italian food and wine on Friday night, Chris suggested that it was about time we get out to bag a confluence point, not that there was much need for persuasion. So our mildly groggy party (“Team Confluenza”) gathered in Seattle the next morning and left for the Olympic Peninsula under cool, calm skies. A ferry jump and some driving brought us to Blyn, WA where we turned S off highway 101 onto Woods Road. A few miles down this road, we hit the National Forest boundary on the 48N parallel. Rather than start here, we backtracked on Woods Road to the power line cut ½ mile N.
We left on foot (elev. ~300’) heading E steeply up an overgrown track at the S edge of the power line cut. Eventually, the track seemed to disappear altogether and we were basically wading uphill through chest-deep vegetation (ok, head-deep for Roxanne). The wildly swooping blackberry thorns nicely complemented the completely rotten slippery logs collapsing underfoot. Regardless, we quickly ascended 0.3m to longitude 123W. The good news is that our GPS coverage was fine in this power line clearing.
At 123W, we took a compass bearing, left the power line, and headed straight S into moderately dense mature evergreen forest -- very beautiful but very poor GPS coverage. We continued S for 0.4m, deviating occasionally towards small areas of visible sky to snatch shaky GPS readings. We arrived in the confluence area about an hour from the car and were quickly able to locate a cluster of markings (National Forest Service boundary sign, multiple colors of flagging tape, a red stake, etc.). The USGS map shows the National Forest boundary a smidge S of the 48N parallel and our GPS reading confirmed this. We headed N to a nearby area where some big trees had come down and opened a small clearing. Fortunately, we were able to get several solid 4-satelite GPS readings around this area to confirm our arrival -- N48.00.003/W122.59.995 and N48.00.009/W122.60.000. (Can anyone say eMap bug? One would think that “W122.60.000” might be better displayed as “W123.00.000”, eh?).
The confluence is in the middle of non-descript evergreen forest on a mild slope at approximately 800’ elev. After patrolling the woods to ensure true confluence point visitation, we ate lunch and donned ties for the Team Confluenza summit photo.
We went down the same way -- but with one big improvement. We found a dirt bike trail that leaves the power line cut at about 500’ elevation and descends NW to hit Woods Road 1/4m N of the power line. Needless to say, this was a joy compared to the bushwhack ascent. Hoot!