24-May-2002 -- I departed 47°N 106°W and drove towards this confluence, stopped about 17 miles (27 km) from it and camped out in a pasture for the night. Mooing cows woke me up this morning and I got up, stretched and hit the road running. Well, crawling is a better word, because I drove along 2-rut roads through pastures, averaging about 10 mph (16 kph). I went through numerous cattle gaps.
I stopped at a ranch very near the confluence and explained what I was doing to the ranch hand that lived there, named Glen Hamilton, and his girlfriend, Vicky. Glen and Vicky invited me in for a cup of coffee and explained that after the rain, the roads going back toward the spot were in pretty bad shape. The ranch owner’s grandson, Russ Milam, came by when we were talking. Russ goes to Boise State and is a javelin thrower. He had just gotten back from the National Championship in Houston, Texas where he placed 18th in the United States in the javelin throw.
I explained to Russ what I was doing and he offered to take me back there in his 4-wheel drive truck. I’m glad, because I would have had a tough time in my 2-wheel drive truck. We used the GPS to pinpoint the confluence and took pictures. Russ staked a piece of PVC pipe in the ground to mark the spot. He told me they raised cattle and sheep on the ranch and we then drove a short distance to see some sheep.
On the way back to the ranch, Russ told me he worked on the ranch in the summer for his grandfather, Paul Milam. He told me about how this area used to be a buffalo hunting ground for Native Americans and how they occasionally find arrowheads and ancient teepee rings in the area. Native peoples would hold the cover of the teepee to the ground by placing stones around the bottom. The teepee was set to allow several inches of the cover to lie on the ground. He also told me they find buffalo stones in the area. Buffalo stones are broken pieces of Ammolite that wash out of flooded creeks and rivers sometimes resemble a buffalo, which represented wealth, good health, power and stamina to Native Americans in that region. The natural stone Ammolite consists of brilliant, intensely hued bits of a rare, mineralized fossil shell. The mollusk ammonite became extinct more than 70 million years ago. When the fossil ammonite becomes opalized it is called Ammolite.
We went back and talked with Glen and Vicky a little while. I thanked them, said my goodbyes and headed out toward the next confluence on my plan, 48°N 109°W.