15-Jun-2003 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer from Colorado USA, and Roger Palmer, science and geography teacher from Texas USA, visited Latitude 30 degrees North, Longitude 100 degrees West in the wide open spaces of South Central Texas USA. As we were teaching GPS and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for a group of 40 schoolteachers at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, we considered a confluence visit to be the perfect addition to this workshop. We were tethered to our computers during the first week of the workshop. However, the appeal of one of the few remaining unvisited confluences and the opportunity to experience a new part of the state could not be resisted on the weekend. Furthermore, the 100 degree meridian has always had a special fascination for geographers. The 100th
meridian has often been used to divide the "wet" eastern USA with the "dry" western USA on maps of climate, vegetation, and population.
The five themes of geography include location, place, movement, human/environment interaction, and regions. Edwards County and the surrounding area forms a region of
enormous cattle ranches and big game hunting ranches. As we drove west from Interstate 10 on Texas State Highway 41, we spotted exotic animals on the hunting ranches. We hoped
that the confluence we were seeking did not lie on one of those ranches, because each was surrounded by 4 meter-high fences and ample "No Trespassing" signs. Fortunately, a dirt county road that we had identified on the aerial photographs and USGS topographic maps proved to be our salvation, leading south from Highway 41 toward the confluence. We chose this route because of the difficulty noted by the previous attempt at this confluence from hiking from the river valley to the west. We spotted an amusing sign that one of the landowners had in the yard, indicating that the speed limit was 13 and 7/8. Skirting
numerous ponds left over from the previous two days of rain and passing through two animal control gates, we parked, donned some sunblock, and set off on foot for the last 1.7
kilometers just as the road deteriorated into a 4-wheel-drive trail and as the sun broke through the clouds.
Our trek along the trail took us nearly due south. The landowners with the speed limit sign who were standing in their yard were the only people we saw in the area, despite
several ranch and mobile homes appearing on both sides of the road. However, critters great and small abounded. Soon after passing through the first gate, a herd of sheep
crossed the trail in front of us. Next, a feral pig crossed our path. Roger commented that these pigs can be vicious, so we took particular pains to keep our distance,
especially when we saw "the three little pigs" cross after their parent. A short distance after a sign that warned us that traps had been set in the area to catch harmful animals, we found one on the side of the trail, most likely for the pigs. It was a cage about the size of a German Shepherd's dog house. We also spotted a surprised wild turkey, a hard working dung beetle, and patient turkey vultures. We passed through a second gate and left the trail to climb a small hill, where we found the confluence in a small clearing surrounded by live oak, juniper trees, prickly pear cactus, yucca, and a rusty truck trailer. We arrived at the confluence at approximately noon local time, 3 ½ hours after we left San Marcos.
During the mid-June day of our visit, the division I mentioned earlier concerning the 100th meridian seemed to have some merit. The weather was approximately 80 degrees F and clear to the west but stormy to the east. The confluence lies on a small knoll with a partly obscured but impressive view out to the west. Roger played a suitable song on the harmonica to mark our visit. We reflected on the difficulty of settlers crossing this rugged area in wagons. We remained at the site for approximately 40 minutes before heading back east. It was a wonderful day.