17-Jan-2004 -- This was our third confluence, and the first for Kaiser and the children. We were driving to Frutal anyway, and according to the map the point seemed to be exactly on the main Rodovia (freeway) up to the area -- I had images of not being able to attain the confluence merely because we couldn't stop the car!
But, when we got to the turnoff to Frutal the GPS was indicating that the point was exactly down this road, and we eventually stopped the car with the point apparently 2.5km off to the left, which was North. Some thought we might get closer going further north-east on the main road, but then we saw a farm track which was hidden behind the roadside trees, and went exactly in the right direction.
This took us into a field full of curious horses, then eventually stopped at a locked gate with just 1.6km to go. Couldn't really ask for more, since we'd travelled over 100km to get there!
We set off across a meadow, which ended in a line of trees. Some were dubious about moving through the dense woods, and the danger of snakes, but it turned out to be just a line of trees over a gully, and we quickly emerged into another meadow, with another line of trees at the far side.
Kaiser, on his first confluence, commented that things were very easy, and I joked that something would come along to make things difficult. Sure enough, the second line of trees covered a very steep gully with a stream at the bottom.
We skirted along the edge for a while, looking for a place where we could get down and cross, and eventually found a fallen tree making a natural bridge. A tricky scramble down, and even steeper climb back up, and we were finally over the obstacle, with a sense of triumph.
Which was almost immediately dashed, as we hit another gully with a river at the bottom - I began to suspect we had just wasted 20 minutes crossing a river which curved right around, so we could have just gone around it!
As it turned out this river was much simpler to cross, with a natural fording point, and we emerged into a field of young corn which was easy going. The other side of this was a rise, covered in sparse scrub, and we scrambled up to the top of this with about 500m to go.
At the top we saw a farmhouse - which of course meant that we could have driven this far. But hey, where's the fun in that? After chatting to the women and children sitting on the veranda (the men being out in the fields of course) and getting permission, we continued on past some tall palm trees and up to the grassy meadow where the confluence is located.
The only problem with recording our success was finding somewhere to put the camera for the group shot, but we managed to prop it up on a small sapling long enough. The return journey was marked mainly by a disagreement about whether to cross the difficult river at the same point as we had come, or look for a different, easier place. The faction which returned to the original point regretted it, as one fell off the tree into the river, and another lost her sunglasses in the muddy water! But at least we did discove that there wasn't a simple way around, we did indeed have to cross both rivers.
We returned to the car in some triumph, completing our third confluence. Unfortunately when I returned home I discovered that we had been beaten by just a few days! Seems like everyone was taking advantage of the holidays to knock of confluences...