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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : North Carolina

5.7 miles (9.2 km) W of Durham (Durham), Orange, NC, USA
Approx. altitude: 106 m (347 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 101°E

Accuracy: 21 m (68 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Looking south from the confluence point. #3: Looking west. #4: Looking north. #5: Our e-Trex Venture with all the 0s, but hard to see in the glare. #6: An easier-to-read shot of the screen, but with a 0.001discrepancy in the longitude.

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  36°N 79°W (visit #3)  

#1: Looking east. The confluence is close to the branch in the foreground.

(visited by Ken Macdonald)

09-Mar-2003 -- The Alethiometrists geocaching team (Ken, Jen, and Amelia) came to this confluence to establish a geocache. We relied very much on visit #2 for details on how to get there, and their directions worked out pretty well for us. One thing worth noting, as a p.s. to their report, is that they visited the area during a drought, whereas we came after a long period of heavy rain, sleet, and snow. As a result, Piney Mountain Creek, which runs between Taproot Lane and the confluence, was a much more formidable obstacle than it must have been for them (they didn't mention it). Jen and Ken scooted along logs to get across on the way in, while Amelia forded across and soaked her shoes, socks, and jeans.

Our map of Duke Forest shows a trail coming part way down toward the confluence from Cornwallis Road (to the north). It appears to be on the right side of the creek, and so might make a better approach. I intend to try it some time.

Once east of the creek, the scrubby brush we'd plowed through coming down from Taproot Lane disappeared and we were in fairly open, though still trail-less, woods. This is an excellent example of a second-growth Southern Piedmont forest well along in the process of succession, with most of the pines gone, giving way to hardwoods. In fact, the greatest hazard here are the holes left by the eponymous taproots, of the departed loblolly pines. I stepped in one that went up to my thigh - quite startling, that.

Later, Jen slipped on the steep banks of a small creek (possibly the dry creek mentioned in visit #2), but she was OK.

Once at the site, we were able to get our e-Trex Venture to settle down to all the desired zeroes, though our all-zero photograph has a lot of glare on the screen, so we've also included a shot with a 0.001 in the minutes for longitude.

One thing we've learned from geocaching is that you never really know the exact point you're at; there's always a margin of error. After settling so perfectly, the GPSr began pointing consistently west (we were using the "go to" feature) to varying numbers of feet. I walked about 50 feet west and began getting close to all zeroes again. In the end, we picked a midpoint, closer to where we got most of our near-perfect GPSr readings, and, as it happens, at the spot our Venture led us to in the first place. Here we placed our cache and shot our directional photos.

It's interesting to note how different our shots look from those in visit #2. Some of that is the season, some of that is the aftermath of the ice storm last December, and some of that is that we're probably standing in a slightly different spot.

I'd set a waypoint at the car when we parked (by the start of a greenway that headed down the other side of Taproot Lane), so now I used the "go to" function to get back. This time, we all forded across Piney Mountain Creek. Amelia and I both had changes of shoes and socks waiting for us - Jen took off hers and crossed barefoot.

Later, Jen found a tick on herself. Amelia and I appear to be tick-free.


 All pictures
#1: Looking east. The confluence is close to the branch in the foreground.
#2: Looking south from the confluence point.
#3: Looking west.
#4: Looking north.
#5: Our e-Trex Venture with all the 0s, but hard to see in the glare.
#6: An easier-to-read shot of the screen, but with a 0.001discrepancy in the longitude.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)