the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Oklahoma

8.4 miles (13.5 km) S of Higgins (TX), Ellis, OK, USA
Approx. altitude: 741 m (2431 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 80°E

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

#2: Daphne and Jim at the confluence, with the cows edging closer #3: The GPS readout #4: Looking west from the confluence #5: Looking north from the confluence #6: Looking east from the confluence

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  36°N 100°W (visit #1)  

#1: Looking south from the confluence

(visited by Tim Vasquez, Jim LaDue and Daphne Zaras)

28-Oct-2001 -- Myself, a weather software programmer; Daphne Zaras, National Severe Storms Lab webmaster; and her husband Jim LaDue, NEXRAD radar instructor, had just visited a confluence point to the south. We decided to try one more, moving about 70 miles north through desolate rangeland populated by abandoned homes and the shells of what were once thriving towns. Nowhere else was the emigration away from rural USA into the cities more apparent than here. The final twenty miles we encountered only [one] other vehicle on the road, making this area about as lonely as it gets. We crossed the Canadian River on a secondary road. Thankfully the bridge was in great shape as the only other crossings were over twenty minutes away. Sand on the roads threatened to high-center the car a couple of times, but we escaped being marooned.

Passing a pipeline pumping station, the roads got much better and we stopped just 0.25 miles west of the confluence alongside a recently harvested hay field. The field, which is conservation-tilled, contained only the stubs of old grass and had not yet been subjected to the inevitable pre-winter plowing. This combined to give us an incredibly easy hike without having to worry about stepping on crops. Bordering the field to the north was virgin grassland, and at the summit was a solar-powered watering trough. Loitering around it were over a dozen black cows. The proximity of the confluence to the cows made me nervous, and I was scanning the herd from a distance to see if there were any bulls. Understandably so, since in this region I've occasionally seen bulls guarding fencelines, snorting and kicking up clouds of dust. My grandfather grew up in central Texas and used to talk about the mean bulls that would chase him up trees and keep him there all day!

We stepped over the short cattle fence and walked directly east. The spent grass was barely an inch high and the ground was well-packed, so we only had to watch out for the cow pies. As we got within 50 meters of the confluence, the cows at the watering trough began getting restless and abandoned their hangout to approach us. I still didn't see anything threatening; however standing in a wide-open field with a huge group of unfamiliar cows moving towards you definitely gets the adrenalin going!

Once at the confluence we quickly got our readings and obligatory photos as the cows closed in from the northeast. The confluence itself was highly exposed, commanding an excellent view of the surrounding field and the sky. Other than the dark farming dirt underneath, there was nothing remarkable about the spot at all, and the only structures to be seen were the water trough and the distant pumpline station. We could see beautiful mesas on the horizon to the south-southeast, which are the Antelope Hills twelve miles away on on the other side of the Canadian River.

With all tasks done, we started back toward the car, with me walking more slowly than Jim and Daphne so we didn't trigger any canine [bovine?] chase instincts! We made it back to the fence, and checking behind us I saw that the cows didn't bother following us very far. Another successful confluence! We topped out the evening with Italian food at the Macaroni Grill in Oklahoma City.

 All pictures
#1: Looking south from the confluence
#2: Daphne and Jim at the confluence, with the cows edging closer
#3: The GPS readout
#4: Looking west from the confluence
#5: Looking north from the confluence
#6: Looking east from the confluence
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)