21-Nov-2004 -- Today was the first field test of my new GPSr, an early Christmas present to myself. After an initial visit to a geodashing dashpoint, I was ready to tackle the confluence at 39N78W. The confluence is about a half mile west of the Appalachian Trail (AT) approximately two and a half miles south of where it crosses US-50 at Ashby Gap. I chose to approach from Virginia’s Sky Meadows State Park. Before beginning my hike, I stopped at the Visitor’s Center and chatted with the resident Park Ranger. I showed her where my objective was and she suggested following a pipeline, that would be easy walking, west from the Appalachian Trail to 78W and then cross country the quarter mile to 39N. I invited her to join me, but she had to decline, saying, “Here I am, a Park Ranger and I have to stay in the office...go figure.” At that point, I grabbed my daypack and headed for the wilderness. It is 1.9 miles from the trailhead at Sky Meadows on the North Ridge Trail to its junction with the AT. About a quarter mile south, the AT crosses the aforementioned pipeline. I followed her suggestion and proceeded west on the well-worn path in the wide clearing for the pipeline. It was slow going from there, however. Although the leaves had all fallen, there were ample vines and underbrush to push through. I did notice a large white tailed deer scurrying away not too far away. About half way to the confluence I encountered a wide cleared path and the lonesome chimney mentioned by previous visitors. Once on the path I was able to zigzag down the slope to the location of the confluence. It would certainly seem that, although not recently, these paths had been cut with future development in mind. The actual zero point appeared to be a few feet north of the clearing seen in the photos on or just beyond the downed trees seen in photo #1. My GPSr registered all zeros any number of times, unfortunately never at the time I snapped a photo of it. Photo #5 was the best I could do. After a bite to eat, I headed back up the hill to the AT. I decided to follow the cleared “road” since it was going in the right direction to see if I could get back without having to do any bushwhacking. Indeed, it is possible to get all the way from the AT to the confluence on the “roads.” The road I followed crossed the AT approximately a quarter mile south of where it crosses the pipeline. From there I followed the established trails back to Sky Meadows. Just to see different scenery, I followed the longer Gap Run Trail the 2.4 miles back to the parking area.