Note: This confluence was originally (and accidentally) indexed under
42°N 102°W. We're reposting it under the correct location.
09-Aug-2001 -- We had been planning a vacation to South Dakota since the spring. A few months ago, I had heard about the degree confluence project from some of the “science guys” I work with at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (one of whom had already located a confluence in Texas). On a whim, I decided to see if there were any unclaimed confluences available near where we would be. This one didn’t look too far from the Badlands, which we were planning to visit. So my husband Dan, 7-year-old son Donny, and I decided we’d make this project part of our summer vacation!
This confluence appeared to be about two miles north of Highway 14. It’s about 15 miles east of Wall, SD, which is the home of the world’s largest drug store. I suspected it was somewhere in the middle of open ranchland or farmland, since that’s about all that’s east of the Black Hills. And I was right. We drove on Highway 14 until the GPS registered 102, then started looking for the first road north. We found one fairly quickly and ventured on, looking for the first sign of residency (we didn’t want to trespass, nor did we want to have any encounters with angry cows or landowners). We soon saw a house about a mile south of where we estimated the confluence to be, so we pulled on up and knocked on the door. Mary Lou, the wife and mother of the household, was somewhat surprised – it’s not every day a family from Texas interrupts you while you’re canning beets to ask if they can look for a degree confluence on your ranch – but she was quite friendly and accommodating and instructed us to follow the fence line up to a tall wooden gate where the three counties come together. That’s where she believed it to be. The GPS actually showed the confluence to be about a quarter mile from the gate. So we had to walk a short distance from our car. Fortunately, it was a warm, sunny day and the only thing we had to contend with was the tall grass, flies, and remnants of cow patties. We spent a few minutes marveling at the sameness and vastness in every direction, marked the spot with my son’s impromptu hiking stick, then headed for the Badlands.
My only regret is that Mary Lou and family don’t have internet access to see the photos of their property. But I plan to send her the duplicates and, in November when it’s available, I’ll order some of their Black Angus beef over the internet!