25-Apr-2004 -- I came to Maine to visit a couple of old friends I hadn't seen in a long time. We were all stationed in Rota, Spain in the Navy in the late 70's and early 80's. Alex Jarrett, the man who started the Degree Confluence Project, and I have been online friends since I became interested in the Project, but we had never met. I told him I was going to Maine to visit my friends and, as it turned out, he was going to be there at the same time visiting his parents. He suggested it would be fun to finally meet and revisit this confluence. I thought it was an excellent idea.
My old Navy friends, Cheryl Black and Kay Sbarbaro, drove to Alex's parents' home this morning where we met Alex's father, Dick, and his brother, Jeff. They made some delicious and nutritious blueberry waffles for breakfast and we all had a good time telling stories and talking about confluence hunting. We met Dick's dog, geese and chickens. The geese were pretty funny. They followed him around like puppies and every time Dick would say, "Hi" to one of them, the goose would immediately honk at him. It sounded as if they were having a conversation. Before we left on the confluence hunting trip, we shot a group photo with Cheryl, Kay, Dick, Jeff, Alex, the dog, the geese and me.
Alex, Cheryl, Kay and I departed and made our way towards the confluence. It was a fairly straightforward drive there and we made it as far as we could drive in under an hour. We parked off the road and began our hike down a trail that came to within 1500 feet of the confluence. That's when the fun started. We had to make our way through some woods that were thick with undergrowth that scratched and slapped you if you followed too closely behind someone. I tried bulldozing a path for those behind me when I could. This gained me the nickname "Dozer Dan".
We ended up taking a very circuitous route to the spot because we kept running into swamps. At first I tried to keep from getting my feet wet, but once they were, I traipsed right on through the swampy areas. It was actually easier walking through the swamps because there wasn’t nearly as much undergrowth to navigate through. However, nobody else wanted wet feet (I can't blame them), so they trudged around them if there wasn't a dry path through. So the trip to the spot took quite a while. I was wearing too much clothing and my hair was wet with sweat by the time we made it.
Even though the hardwood trees hadn't bloomed yet, the woods were beautiful. Scattered here and there were rock formations that rose several feet above the forest floor. They were mostly covered by moss – some new and bright green and some of last year’s moss that had spent the winter under the snow. It was dead and gray and almost looked skeletal. When stepped on, it crunched. The woods parted where the formations were and sunlight filtered in through the tree limbs. The sun's rays streaked onto the moss and rock to give the clearings a magical glow.
Once we made it to the spot, we took our photos and basked in the glory of our accomplishment (ha!) for a few minutes before beginning our trek back out of the woods. Alex did a great job of navigating our way out and it wasn't long before we were back in the car and warming up.
It was a fine experience to visit this confluence with my friends. It was one of those days that will always put a smile on my face when I recall it.
-- Danny Strickland