30-Oct-2005 -- We were surprised that no one had visited this confluence since January 2000. We had actually looked at this one on a May visit to the Safford/Mount Graham area but without a detailed road map, were not sure where the maze of roads would lead us, so we nixed that bid and decided to try it another time.
The Safford region is unique in that it is the most geothermically active region of the state. Arizona is relatively quiet when it comes to earthquakes, big faults and active volcanism as compared to its neighbor states, but the Safford area has about a dozen distinct hot springs and seeps. This was the draw for us, that and an opportunity to hike and explore the Black Hills Backcountry Byway and the Peloncillo Mountains east of the city. The weather was quite nice and very dry for mid-Fall here in Arizona, and we decided to make a weekend visit to Safford, hike some hills, soak in the waters, and on the way back home, seek out 33N-110W.
On Sunday we left Safford and traveled about 20 miles on westbound highway US-70 to the small community of Fort Thomas. We turned left (heading southwest) onto Black Rock road, and after about another 1.5 miles, took a right on the dirt continuation of Black Rock Road, for about another mile. With a better map in hand, we found the un-named dirt road on our left that supposedly came within about 0.3 miles of the confluence. A (dry) creek crossing early on will discourage low-slung passenger vehicles, but in a truck we had no trouble. We drove to a point a bit north and west of the confluence (N 33.00700, W 110.00232, WGS84 Datum), parked, and started the walk toward the point.
The terrain here is flat and crossed by numerous arroyos and larger washes and draws. Vegetation is light enough to allow easy cross-country travel, and we made the one-way trek in about 20 minutes, crossing two fences along the way by scooting underneath them. My land-use atlas had this area as public BLM lands, but the actual confluence sits within an enclosure clear of brush and obviously an animal pen, although on this day we saw nothing. We took our four cardinal photos and of the GPS, and then returned to our truck for the 3-hour drive back home.
Photos: The north view shows the Gila Mountains, while the south view shows Beth at the actual point, with the (I believe) Santa Theresa Mountains (or part thereof) behind her. Looking west all we could see was scrubby desert and bluffs, while the east view features a silhouette of massive Mount Graham in the Pinaleno Mountains. Mount Graham rises to 10,720 feet, fully 7,000 vertical feet above the desert floor. It is the highest point in Graham County and the most prominent mountain in the state (summit to saddle differential). Numerous observatories sit atop the peak.