This is the fourth confluence visit of 24 I have planned for this trip. After leaving the last confluence,
43N 101W, I drove from Nebraska into South Dakota, through an Indian Reservation and then south on a dirt road that started about 21 kilometers (13 miles) north of the confluence.
I went about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) before coming to a cattle gap that was posted with a No Trespassing sign. I turned around and tried an alternate route from the northeast. That dead-ended into a corral on a ranch. Nobody was there, so I drove back to the highway and attempted to reach it from the northwest. That road ended at a ranch as well, but there was someone at this one, so I asked the owner, Sam Smith, for some directions. Sam was a really nice guy and, after looking at my map, he said I could pass through the original cattle gap I came to, but he wouldn’t recommend it because the roads were extremely sandy and that I would probably get stuck. He studied my map for a while and said he knew of a better way to get there, but that there would be no way I could make it on my own. He asked his son Aaron to guide me on his 4-wheeler.
Aaron took me across miles of pastures and through several cattle gaps before we were unable to go any further due to a buffalo fence. As it turns out, Ted Turner bought thousands of acres out here and put up electric fences around it so he can raise buffalo. I was still 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) from the confluence and, after all I had been through so far, I wasn’t about to give up. I thanked Aaron for his help and drove along the fence, hoping to find a gate.
I found a gate a few miles away. It wasn’t posted, so I went through it and made my way across open prairie. The terrain was bumpy, sometimes muddy, and there were no roads for the most part. It took about three hours to go those final 14.5 kilometers, but I eventually made it to the point. It is in South Dakota, but only about 80 meters north of the Nebraska border. Along the way, I saw lots of waterfowl near lakes I drove around, as well as pheasants, a beautiful white swan, and a huge elk. I was awestruck by how remotely beautiful and untouched by man this location was.
After taking the photos, I departed the spot and used a different route out. As it turned out, this was the way I should have come in. The trip planner I used leaves a lot to be desired, but I wouldn’t have seen a lot of the sights I saw if it were better. My next stop (number five of 24 planned visits) was
44N 105W. I drove about three hours to Hot Springs, South Dakota and camped out for the night.