04-Jun-2012 -- This would be the first of a dozen confluences along 38 and 39 North. I had just dropped my daughters off at the USAF Academy to attend the highly competitive Summer Seminar program. This trip had actually started two days before -- right after they had finished taking their SAT college entrance exams. Now I had several days to make a clockwise loop east of Colorado Springs on another solo confluence adventure.
I stopped 370 meters east of the confluence and easily hiked over a fallow field of dry grass to center this point out. Except for some powerlines and structures a long way to the south, there was nothing remarkable or man-made in sight. A flowering prickly pear cactus was the nearest identifiable feature in the surrounding grass and is reflected in the pictures. Storms were building to the east and the winds began to pick up significantly as I was taking my pictures.
Like my last confluence adventure, I had quite the collection of electronics with me:
My Spot Satellite GPS Messenger, was used to send custom messages from each confluence and several friends and family were tracking my progress in real time. A track of the full adventure can be found here.
My iPad was also indispensable. I found a couple of apps to be very useful: Theodolite, as well as National Geographic Trail Maps. I had downloaded imagery and 1:24,000 map tiles for my entire trip. Even when there was no cellular connectivity, I still had detailed imagery and topos. The utility and connectivity features of a tablet device are what we all dreamed about years ago!
On previous confluence visits, I had tried to use my panoramic lens with only limited success. This time the results were better but still could have been improved if I had carried a tripod with me. Holding a camera above your head while aligning a two axis bubble level is a bit more challenging than it sounds – especially on uneven ground or in the wind!
Picture #10 shows the results of my efforts presented as cylindrical Quick Time Virtual Reality files (qtvr). When you select this picture (and several others like it through my adventure), QuickTime will open up. You can then use your mouse to zoom in and out and scroll throughout the scene.
I also brought along my Trimble GPS to collect GPS data that would later be differentially corrected.
Picture #6 shows a TerraSync screen shot on the left captured at the confluence and the resulting Pathfinder Office post processed GPS data on the right.
It had been almost 8 years since this confluence’s last recorded visit. What a start to a great adventure.
Onward to 39N 102W.