25-Jun-2002 -- Hooray; I've finally gotten a Garmin Etrek, so confluence hunting can begin. All of Florida's confluences have been visited at least once, so the logical choice seemed to be revisiting as many as possible, starting with the one closest to home.
I thought it would be kind of cool to visit a confluence at night, since I haven't seen anyone [intentionally] do so. So, at 7:30pm, we headed out for the target, a mere 29.1 miles "as the crow flies", according to the Garmin.
We printed out the report from the first person who had successfully visited the confluence, and took it with us for reference material. Our route of approach was from the west on SR 44. At this point, the sun had set and it was getting fairly dark outside, so we had to keep our eyes peeled for the "dirt road without a gate" that the first narrative referred to. Unfortunately, all of the dirt roads we encountered on the south side of SR 44 were gated. So, we parked the car at the gate [29.00.737 N, 80.59.991 W] that was directly north of the confluence [about .8 miles north], and followed this dirt road south on foot.
We came across a spot that I recognized from the first visit's group photos, and it encouraged us that we were on the right track. At this point, it was completely dark, and our flashlight lit the dark, muddy road ahead of us. One point of concern was the muddy conditions noted by our predeccesors, and it being in the middle of a 10 day non-stop rainy period, I could only imagine the waterlogged trails that lie ahead.
We continued to follow the dirt road for about 2 tenths of a mile, until we noticed up ahead a delivery van of some sort. We thought it was interesting that someone had left this van back here, and continued towards it on the road. Before I took another step, my roommate pointed out to me that there was a large house directly to my left. A large house!
Judging from the narrative and photos of the previous confluence visitors, this house was directly in the middle of the only [negotiable] path to the confluence. Our spirits unwaivering, we took a detour west of the house, attempting to go around the large brushy area that surrounded the confluence. The trail we were on was going in completely the wrong direction, so we had no choice but to go 'gung-ho' through the thick underbrush towards the confluence. Handing my roommate the flashlight and backpack, I forged over the water and landed in a patch of thorn bushes. Investigation of the area directly south of these bushes showed no signs of the underbrush letting up. So, we turned back to the car, in hopes of finding another dirt road towards the confluence.
Headed due east on SR 44, about 1/3 of a mile, we came across another road, this one a little further back [next to a brown dumpster] and also gated. The only thing that stopped us from making one last attempt to the confluence was the big red "No Tresspassing" sign on the fence.
So, the closest we got to the confluence [while abidigng the law] was .67 of a mile. The GPS picture shows our coordinates at the second gate we tried. The attempt was certainly a great time, and I plan to return during daylight hours sometime in the future to tag this elusive confluence.