the Degree Confluence Project

Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador

8.6 km (5.3 miles) NW of Labrador City, NL, Canada
Approx. altitude: 733 m (2404 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo topo250 ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 53°S 113°E

Accuracy: 6 m (19 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Looking North from 53N67W #3: Looking East from 53N67W #4: Looking South from 53N67W #5: Looking West from 53N67W #6: View of GPS at 53N67W #7: Author at 53N67W #8: Winston Cutler at 53N67W #9: Scenic View within 1km of 53N67W

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  53°N 67°W  

#1: General Area of 53N67W

(visited by Benoit Turgeon and Winston Cutler)

24-Dec-2003 -- Newly exposed to the Confluence Project through a December 2003 Air Canada magazine article during a flight to Labrador City from Quebec City for the Christmas Holiday season and the wedding of Wade, my girlfriend Wanda's brother, I was anxious to locate a topographical map of the area to determine if 53N67W was reasonably accessible near this remote Labrador mining town.

As it turns out, the confluence is located approximately 9 km NNW of the town centre, and although "close" by any standards, accessing it would require a certain amount of preparation and crossing at least 8km of inaccessible and snowy terrain as the only local road is indeed part of the town itself. In the worse case scenario, the confluence would be smack in the middle of one of the iron ore mines, a rather unsafe place to explore.

Unfortunately, the Canadian topographical map grid is juxtaposed precisely on most confluences, which makes map reading and interpretation more complicated. 53N67W is located on the seams of two 1:250000 maps and at the corner of four 1:50000 maps, none of which have been updated since the early 1980s. A quick visit to the local store revealed that we would have to work with the two 1:250000 maps, from information compiled between 1950 and 1988. According to the maps, no trails, surveyed lines or power lines existed in the area so I then moved on to obtaining a copy of the local snowmobile trails, which showed that one of the main trails would take us within approximately 6 km of the confluence itself.

After appropriating two snowmobiles from Wanda's father Winston, the appropriate winter gear, and an additional snowmobile and GPS unit from a friend of the family, we left the house at approximately 11h00 to explore the terrain toward our goal. GPS in hand, Winston, Wade and I made rapid progress through secondary snowmobile trails in -25 C weather and roughly 2.5 meters of snow. Within less than two hours, we had reached a point on a groomed trail less than 950m from the confluence near Kelly's Swimming Hole. After several attempts back and forth on the trail through various bogs and lakes, it became obvious that our goal was not accessible directly from any of the snowmobile trails; instead, we would have to cut our own trails to 53N67W through trees and deep snow.

After getting the snowmobiles stuck several times in the snow, I wondered if we would achieve our goal during this first attempt. Even though still early in the day with plenty of fuel and still feeling somewhat warm (how do you feel warm at -25C???), the sun was quickly approaching the horizon and we knew to abort our attempt while some daylight was still available. Far too many people have been in trouble in these northern latitudes because of nightfall or exposure. Despite having been within 280m of our goal, common sense prevailed and we returned to town with very little daylight left.

The weather didn't cooperate for the next few days but on Christmas Eve, the outside temperature was very reasonable at -12C with light snow falling on this beautiful town. Winston and I decided to make our second attempt: we packed up quickly, and armed with the knowledge from our previous attempt, we reached our last point on our own snowmobile trails within an hour of leaving town.

We managed to make our way with the snowmobiles a little further than during our previous attempt but soon realized that the last few hundred metres would require us to get to 53N67W by foot--well, by showshoe, really; it would be impossible to walk in the dense forest without snowshoes at the risk of sinking in the deep snow.

After approximately 20 minutes of strenuous snowshoeing, we ran into a cut-line (a cut-line is a straight line of trees that have been cut down for surveying purposes). This cut-line would have been accessible from the snowmobile trails although it was rather steep---not sure if the "machines" (snowmobiles) would have made it up here. The cut-line was neither shown on the topo maps nor the satellite imagery I had found of this remote region taken in 2001. Satellite imagery in winter has the advantage of easily depicting lakes, trails, power lines and cut-lines. This cut-line one must have been cleared in the last 2 years.

Another 20 minutes into the dense woods, we reached 53N67W: a rather nondescript piece of land deep in a forest of small coniferous trees. Despite the cold, we both felt extremely warm and glad to have reached our goal. Quick pics were taken as light snow was falling and we proceeded back to the snowmobiles and started our journey back to town in time for Christmas Supper !

Our thanks go out to Wade Cutler who assisted us during our first attempt at 53N67W.

 All pictures
#1: General Area of 53N67W
#2: Looking North from 53N67W
#3: Looking East from 53N67W
#4: Looking South from 53N67W
#5: Looking West from 53N67W
#6: View of GPS at 53N67W
#7: Author at 53N67W
#8: Winston Cutler at 53N67W
#9: Scenic View within 1km of 53N67W
ALL: All pictures on one page