the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Tennessee

2.0 miles (3.3 km) S of Prospect, Giles, TN, USA
Approx. altitude: 189 m (620 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 35°S 93°E

Accuracy: 1 m (3 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: Come in Earth #3: It's right about here... #4: Aha! #5: Here #6: Looking West

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  35°N 87°W (visit #2)  

#1: Looking Northeast

(visited by Dan Gregg, Brian Griffin, Benjamin Stevens and Todd Stevens)

08-Jun-2002 -- Todd Stevens and I discussed trying for this point several times over about 2 years. Lack of a GPS and a digital camera stopped us; we always seemed to have access to one of the two, but never both at the same time. I finally broke down and bought a digital camera, so when he mentioned he had access to a GPS device for his Mac iBook we decided to go.

This confluence was marked as "attempted" at the site. From the topos and the satellite images it was in the middle of a field and looked to be fairly accessible. Todd's son Benjamin and a friend of mine, Brian Griffin, decided to accompany us.

We drove to Athens and then north from there on 127 to Elkmont. From there we crossed from the west to the east side of Elkmont (not hard, it's a small town) and picked up Veto Road heading North. I had plotted two routes to the point. One route went due west along the Alabama-Tennessee state line from veto and then went north towards the point. The other route was used by the previous attempt and proceeds north from Veto before turning left onto Veto Lane and approaching the point from the east. The previous attempted was stopped at a cable with "No Trespassing" and "No Hunting" signs here and no one was at the nearby house. We decided to try this route first and see if anyone was home.

The homeowner turned out to be a nice guy. He said that an older gentleman and a younger woman had been there 2-3 months previously with the same request and he had allowed them on the property. It hadn't been posted on the confluence site, but there may be an earlier attempt/success at this point. He wasn't the landowner of the point, but we had to cross his property and he was friends with the landowner on the other side where the point was. He allowed us through the cable and told us to only drive as far as the shed beside the road and walk from there, be sure and put the cable back, and not to step on the cotton.

We drove to the shed, walked to the end of the road and headed up the hill through what looked to be an amazing volunteer crop of winter wheat. We crossed a barbed wire fence into a cotton field and begin to approach the point. We had to cross a second barbed wire fence into an adjoining cotton field and then began to hunt down the point in the south west corner of the field.

Then we began to learn things. The GPS hooked to the iBook was flaky. It didn't update continuously, but only periodically. It seemed to not want to update at all unless you moved outside of its reported error margin (which was about 7 meters at the time). We had brought no compass and it was a somewhat overcast day around noon. No one had a pencil or pen. The iBook batteries had 40 minutes of charge left and we didn't have a charger. It was extremely hard to get a decent shot of the laptop's screen showing our coordinates.

We essentially had to build a grid with people standing in various places to mark positions and others walking around with the iBook and the GPS receiver held in patently ridiculous postures. All the pictures of the coordinates are annoying. 59 9998, 00 0005, 00 0001, 59 9989, etc. It did zero on 00 0000 on both coordinates twice, once for about 10 seconds and once for about 30, but quickly wandered off before I could get shots of the screen with my digital camera that could be seen. Trust me though, we took the full 40 minutes of battery, and we walked all over it.

We headed back and found a break in the fence line which let us skip climbing one of the two barbed wire fences. Brian saw a large snake while answering the call of nature. We walked back to the truck, cranked up the A/C, and headed back to Elkmont. It was the closest place to get sodas and we were hot. From Elkmont we drove straight east to Interstate 65 and headed home. It was probably a better way to access this site in the first place, but not as scenic.

Lessons learned:
Bring a good handheld GPS
Bring a pencil
Bring a compass
Have extra batteries for everything
Bring a cooler
Watch for snakes

 All pictures
#1: Looking Northeast
#2: Come in Earth
#3: It's right about here...
#4: Aha!
#5: Here
#6: Looking West
ALL: All pictures on one page