19-Sep-2002 -- After doing some research with road maps, MapSource and aerial photographs we discovered that this confluence on the Canadian/United States border is best reached from the Montana side. In the area of the confluence a gravel road runs parallel to the border, just meters south of it, for approximately six kilometers. It can't get much better than that. There are no roads near the confluence area on the Saskatchewan side. We left Regina and headed south for the border.
We crossed the border at the Port of Coronach on the Canadian side/the Port of Scobey on the United States side. Because we would be exploring along the border in these post September 11, 2001 times, we wanted to be certain we were not mistaken for terrorists or smugglers. People standing on the border with a GPS while taking pictures in every direction could certainly be construed by the Border Patrol or RCMP as suspicious. We didn't want Blackhawk helicopters swooping down on us so prepared our maps, a copy of the aerial shot, the confluence letter, and a couple of copies of actual visits printed from the confluence site to help explain our quest. After talking to two officials - one at the border; one in Scobey, Montana - and explaining our quest, we were able to proceed. It took some time and effort, but we then felt safe going off to look for the confluence. We were asked not to write about any of the details but would suggest it is important when exploring along the border in this day and age to make the authorities aware of your activity and location. Hefty fines can be levied if you are caught crossing at unauthorized locations. Both the RCMP in Canada and the Border Patrol in the United States are on the alert.
We stopped at Uncle Al's Pizza and Subs before leaving Scobey. Uncle Al made up a couple of submarine sandwiches that we took with us. Heading west on Highway 248 we drove through the small town of Four Buttes, named because of the four buttes northwest of town. At the town of Peerless we turned north on graveled Peerless Road, passing hills with names like Jones Hill, Wild Horse Butte and Slaughter Hill. By the time we were driving west along the 6 km portion of road that parallels the border we were on fairly flat land that is either cultivated or used as pasture land. Off to the north in Canada there was a wide low valley and indeed no roads approaching the border. One big lonely tree stood guard along the road.
Just west of the confluence we found an open gate through the barbed wire fence. We were able to drive right to the spot. The grasshoppers were thick and clinging to our van. Strong prairie winds were whipping across the vast expanse of land. Other than the initial red tape involved, this was one of our easiest finds yet. The 49th parallel is about 60 meters north of the designated border which is marked along the way with border monuments. There were two monuments along the 6 km stretch of road. One was stainless steel, two kilometers east of the confluence, with Canada printed on the north side and United States on the south side. The cement monument, about 800 meters west of the confluence, was similar but had "Treaty of 1908" printed on the west side and "Convention of 1818" on the east side.
After taking the required photos and the zeros on the GPS, we photographed two of our team members on the 49th parallel. MacDuff, the Basset Hound who has lived in the United States with our daughter most of his life, is south of the 49th wearing his red, white and blue 'stars and stripes' bandana. Max, our wind blown Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier who has lived in Canada most of his life, is north of the 49th wearing his red and white maple leaf bandana. A patriotic moment indeed!
After leaving the spot we continued west then south passing through an open pasture with lots of cows. They were even on the road. Some antelope were running up one of the hills. We came out at the highway near Richland. Back at Scobey we headed north to the border and didn't even have a purchase to declare. It was a beautiful day with great Autumn scenery along the way. In some valleys and coulees the trees were turning yellow and brown. On both sides of the border farmers were busy harvesting. Recent rains have put a delay on that important task. By the time we left Moose Jaw at 7:00 PM to drive east towards Regina it was getting dark. Out in the fields we could see the bright lights on the combines as farmers continued to harvest their crops. Work days on prairie farms are very long right now as the first frost can't be far off. A huge almost full moon rose on the distant flat horizon and brightened the dark sky all the way home.
The total trip was 680 km. We were gone almost 12 hours. Once again we saw a lot of new and interesting territory and had a great day.