08-Aug-2007 -- We were in the midst of our grand tour of 11 state and national parks in 12 days. The day before, we had hiked at magnificent Bryce Canyon National Park, and as we were heading to Capitol Reef National Park, we considered this confluence to be doable. In addition, a trip here would take us up a lonely road to Antimony that we had never been on before.
We left Panguitch around 10:30am, traveling east on Utah State Highway 12. By about 11:15am, we had turned north at Bryce Canyon National Park on Utah State Highway 22. I was hoping we could stop near the 38th Parallel, and as luck would have it, we found a four-wheel drive track leading west just barely north of 38 North. We drove up it just enough for our two-wheel drive van to park, donned sunblock, hats, and water, and set out, with about 1.5 kilometers reading on the GPS unit. We hiked due west, following the track, and then followed the track curving to the northwest. After about 15 minutes, a couple in their late 50s or early 60s drove up in a pickup truck, asking us if we were lost. We explained our mission and they told us that they ran their cattle on the BLM land here, and owned land not far away. We chatted about the beauty of the terrain until they drove off. As we continued down the track, we found that we were gradually heading away from the confluence. Fortunately, at the base of a rather high hill, another track struck off to the west. We took this and after a steep trek, were treated to a magnificent view in all directions.
We decided to leave the track soon after the crest of the hill, striking out in a beeline to the confluence, which now lay 750 meters to the south-southwest. We descended into a small valley, up the other side, over the top of the next ridge, down another valley, and up another hill. All the while, we hiked through a pinon-juniper forest, each tree about 3 or 4 meters apart. We kept an eye out for snakes but saw no animals on the way in. On the back, or south, side of the final hill, we found the confluence.
The confluence lies on ground sloping 15 degrees to the south, on a sparsely-vegetated slope at the edge of the pinon-juniper forest. It did not appear that the area had been grazed, but it could have been, given what the couple had told us in the valley below. The noontime temperature was about 94 degrees F (34 C) with very light winds and blue skies--quite a beautiful day. The thing I'll remember about this confluence is the blazing sun and the magnificent view, especially to the east, down the canyon heading to Antimony. We quickly took photographs and video, since two of our party had headed back to the vehicle.
I had been to 38 North several times, in California, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and Virginia. I had visited 112 West twice before, both unsuccessfully, in the middle of the Great Salt Lake marsh, and at the rim of the Grand Canyon, making this my first successful visit to 112 West. This was my third confluence trek on this family vacation.
As typically happens on these treks, on the way out, we found a much easier way. We followed a track that led down the gentle valley, which was a much more direct route. Still, if we had taken this on the way in to the confluence, we would have missed the magnificent view from the hill crest. As usual, it is the journey that is the most important part. We startled a few enormous jackrabbits on the way out, rounded the lowest hill, and spotted our vehicle baking in the sun.
It then seemed as though we drove back in time at our next stop, in Koosharem, north on Highway 62. The general store had a real wooden floor, an ancient scale for weighing produce, and mail boxes for all of the town's residents. A girl emptied her piggy bank of coins on the counter to buy some candy. A group of four other girls led a small pony to the outside door. I highly recommend a visit! We then drove to Capitol Reef National Park to hike a slot canyon known as "The Wash" in the blazing sun. We finished the day in Moab, prepared to hike Little Wild Horse slot canyon the next day. It was a week to remember.