16-Aug-2003 -- Invigorated and fresh off our successful visit to 48N 113W the previous day, we left Great Falls and headed up towards Fort Benton, MT in search of this confluence. From Fort Benton, we drove about 20 miles north on route 223 until we approached the 48th latitude, and found the nearest gravel road heading west.
From studying the aerial photos, we had mapped a route through the vast wheat farms that would bring us within half a mile of the confluence. Our plan turned out to be accurate, and we arrived at the point on the road nearest to the confluence. Our suspicions were confirmed: the point is indeed on private land. Now the challenge would be to find the landowner and obtain permission to access the property.
We had passed a farm 1.5 miles north of this spot, so we backtracked to see what the residents could tell us. After presenting the Letter to Landowners and chatting with these very pleasant folks (John and Lori Tacke), we learned that they had once owned the land, but had sold it to Don Jacobs, who lives all the way back in Great Falls. Luckily they had a phone number for Don, and I was able to reach him by phone, explain our quest, and he graciously allowed us to cross his field to the confluence point. His only condition was that we not drive out on the tractor paths, as the heated exhaust pipe from one of the farm vehicles had recently sparked a large fire in an adjacent field.
As we left the Tacke farm, John was sure to warn us about the aggressive rodeo bulls dwelling on the property as well as the "huge rattlesnake den" that, as he recalled, would be right about on top of the confluence point.
His memory turned out to be accurate. While we didn't see any actual snakes, signs of their presence abounded. After crossing two barbwire fences over the span of 0.5 miles, we arrived at the confluence slightly out of view of the road. The point sits in sparse range land typical of the Montana plains. Since it was out in the open, we had no trouble obtaining a perfect reading of 48.00.000N, 111.00.000W.