17-Sep-2007 -- This narrative describes expeditions to the confluence at 45N 71W. The first attempt in Feb. 2007 was a failure. This time we were successful.
The confluence sits on the water, 30m off the eastern shore of Lake Aziscohos (uh-ZIS-kuh-hahs), a man made lake in NW Maine, resulting from a dam on the Magalloway River.
Even though the 100m rule considers the adjacent shore as a successful visit, our group advocates a more purist philosophy, and believes the visitor should achieve the zeroes.
With this is mind, we made our 1st attempt on the site in February, knowing that the lake would be deeply frozen, and anticipated an easy walk on the ice to the exact coordinates.
The lake is 30km long, oriented N-S. The nearest plowed road in winter is state route 16, passing the dam at the southern tip of the lake. Here, we left one vehicle behind, and took a 4WD SUV, turning north onto unplowed dirt logging roads for the 15km drive to the confluence.
The road had been driven since the last snowfall, creating ruts in the 25cm snow cover. The drive was slow and uneventful, until the last kilometer, which required us to descend a slope to the lake's edge, along a smaller, unused road. 100m into this descent, we realized we were at risk of exceeding the vehicle's capability to retrace the slope under slippery conditions. We elected to retreat, but soon became stuck in the snow.
The sun was setting, the temperature had fallen to -24C. We abandoned the confluence hunt to direct all our energies into getting the vehicle unstuck. As darkness fell, 2 of our party began the 15km hike back to the other vehicle and rescue possibilities. The remaining 2 started a long and careful process of turning the vehicle around on the narrow road, to assault the hill going forward. This effort was successful, and we drove back, rescued the remainder of our party, and left the locale with mixed feelings.
Our 2nd attempt in Sept. experienced much more clement conditions. We arrived at the end of the dirt road, 100m inland from the shore, and 500m north of the confluence. We brought kayaks, and found a portage trail which took us directly to the rocky shore.
Morning mist had just lifted from the river valley, the lake was relatively calm. We launched the boats, and paddled to the zero point in only a few minutes. It took a while to get a picture of the GPS, as the breeze quickly moved the boat off the coordinates. After obtaining the requisite documentation, we landed at the shore, searched and found a geocache hidden in the woods.
The surrounding environment is 50% boreal forest at this latitude and elevation. The forest was dense spruce and pine, with a larger percentage of birch and maple near the water's edge. It is very sparcely populated; a few lakeside bungalows & camps used only in the warmer season, are concentrated near the south end. Logging is the only employment, and marginally economic, according to local sources.
This is moose and bear country, but we saw no animals larger than squirrels.