When I was an elementary school kid in Saskatchewan, I was told in a geography class that northern Saskatchewan has so many lakes you could never visit them all in one lifetime, no matter how hard you tried.
And that's just lakes in northern Saskatchewan. What about the rest of it?
What about all the mountains and canyons? Cliffs and caves? Rivers and bays and oceans and islands and hotsprings? Glaciers? Rain forests and deserts and tundra and marshlands and everything in between? Salt flats? Beaches? Unique geological features like hoodoos andgeysers and smoking hills and tufa mounds and poljes and pingoes... I could go on and on.
There's so much to see!
From my earliest days, my parents - and my dad especially - instilled in me a passion for exploring. That passion nearly drives me crazy when I pass through an area that looks interesting - especially if that area is hard to get to. And there are so many places to see, it's amazing I haven't gone totally insane. Fortunately, I can get an idea of what different parts of the world looks like, thanks to the Degree Confluence Project.
I heard about the Degree Confluence Project a few years ago. I can't remember how I heard about it, but I thought it sounded interesting and filed it away in my head for further investigation. When I got a GPS, I decided to join in the fun.
The Degree Confluence Project was started in 1996 by a guy named Alex Jarrett. Driven entirely by volunteers, the goal of the project is to find and document every point where latitude and longitude intersect at whole numbers on or within sight of land. It is, essentially, "an organized sampling of the world". In other words, a way to get a general idea of what different parts of the world looks like.
When, owing to work and family commitments, I am not able to get out and explore for real, at least I can do some vicarious globe-trotting. Click on the image below to do a little globetrotting of your own, then click on the pictures on a part of the globe that you'd like to explore.
There's still so much to see!
As you can see by the map, there are still a lot of confluences to be found. I was the "first finder" for two of those little spots.
I visited my first confluence in July 2006. 60oN 132oW itself wasn't anything extraordinary, but the idea that I had been the first to reach and document the confluence was a blast! I came within two kilometers of 60oN 134oW last summer (now that I know the best way to get there, I'll go back to complete the visit - eventually), and found 60oN 123oW this summer.
I may not be able to see the whole world in my lifetime, but I'm determined to see a lot of it. I figure I might as well take a few pictures so other people can see what it looks like, too.