21-Oct-2001 -- After three successful confluence visits on Saturday, I was off to Denver on a business trip. It's about a 9-hour drive from Billings to Denver, so as the number of autumn daylight hours wanes, it's harder to take time out for sidetrips. I told myself therefore that I would just check out the area around the confluence in preparation for a future visit.
I took Wyoming Highway 338 north from Sheridan toward Decker, Montana. Having foolishly left my Wyoming gazetteer at home, I decided to wing it, turning left onto Sheridan County Road 1237. I followed the road, which was doing a good job of taking me straight toward the confluence point. There were a large number of oil and gas wells, with imposing signs barring access. As I got to within a mile or so of the confluence, I stopped a passing pickup truck and talked with the Jones family, a local landowner. After we discussed the project, he was unsure whether the land was his or not, but he suggested turning down the next driveway and seeing if the point was there.
I parked at the edge of the driveway and hiked in. Driveways in the West aren't a 30-foot cement thing - the hike was not quite 2 miles on a winding gravel path over a ridge and down toward Little Youngs Creek. Once at the house, I knocked and called out, as I wasn't sure whether or not it was the house belonging to the Jones family - but no one was home, so I went on to the point, about a quarter-mile away.
As I later discovered after consulting the topo maps, my GPS receiver did me a favor. Crossing the thick vegetation around the creek and climbing up the steep far side would have been difficult, but the zeroes came up just in time as I reached the edge of a small peninsula of land surrounded on three sides by the creek. It appears from the topo maps that I was well within the 100-meter margin of error.
Since the point itself was so close to the creek, the nearby Bighorn Mountains were visible only from the high ridges on the walk in. This was a nice little break from a 550-mile drive, and it's always good to meet friendly people.