21-Jul-2002 -- After purchasing a GPS (strictly a toy at the time), a friend forwarded me your confluence project. I then realized the GPS now had a purpose. After checking out the map for our area, we decided our first try was to bag 51N, 100W.
We had approached from the northeast on highway 5 until turning south on road 108 west (we didn't find road 108 east) to the end. At this point, K (Kilmeny Jones) and I were approx 1.451 min N and .326 min E of the confluence. (Picture #1 - Our starting point) Our hike started briefly south then west on an overgrown road heading into the forest. Looking at the underbrush, we figured to get onto the west longitude then work our way south, hopefully lessening the distance bushwhacking. After a few hundred meters, we came to our mark so promptly turned into the brush. (Picture #2 - The spider's web) This proved much harder than first thought. Us fighting through the tangle of young brush was like a fly in a spider's nest.
After 35 min of this, a break came our way in the form of an animal trail leading generally in our direction. This continued for a few hundred meters before veering off so into the brush again we went. (Picture #3 - Mike in the thick of it) Due to the canopy of the trees and the dense underbrush (which was still mostly over our heads), the GPS was continually feeding us the "weak signal" warning which caused us several times to head to any clearing we could to monitor our progress. What looked to be a break in the form of a beaver dam (and clear sky) proved to be only one of many obstacles to cross. We continued on like this for another 40 minutes before deciding (after many scrapes, bruises and mosquito bites) that we were not going to get an accurate enough reading and it was best to begin the trek back to the vehicle.
Our trip back proved to be quite the learning experience. Instinctively, I knew generally which direction the vehicle was in as well as having marked waypoints along our journey to use in our retreat. Due to the inaccurate bearings we were receiving, the GPS was not providing much guidance though. The trail back through the underbrush led us to cross a number of beaver dams (Picture #4 - Our second beaver dam) and ponds as well as some of the thickest brush I have come across this side of the border. With our continuing efforts to get a reliable signal, I lost the instinctive knowledge of which direction to go. The overcast sky covering the sun did not help our predicament although, we were able to get enough satellite input to find our way back to one waypoint on the animal path we had followed earlier. From this point, electronic navigation was much easier as well as regaining my internal compass.
What we both thought was going to be an hour trek in and out proved to be a 3 ½ hour pounding, wet tromp in some ugly terrain. In my own defense, I have to state I am an experienced outdoorsman who made the mistake of underestimating our task. Our last accurate reading was .014 min E and .118 min N of our destination. This experience has not diminished, more enhanced, our will to try and bag this confluence and others at a later time, albeit more prepared. (Picture #5 - One of the few clearings)