07-Sep-2015 -- I was in some serious confluence withdrawal with my last visited point some four months before, and was looking forward to what has become my annual day or two out in the field solely to visit confluence points. This year, the only time available was Labor Day weekend, a holiday in the USA, and even though the traffic would be heavier, the time had arrived to embark. Over the past two days, I had visited 9 points along 106 West and 107 West. Now I was heading back to Colorado... would there be time to get one more point? It turned out that there would be time for visiting two more, raising my 3 day total to 11 points.
Having spent the night, for the first time in the back of a rental car in a Walmart parking lot, in Las Vegas New Mexico, I was a bit groggy, but headed north on I-25 to Wagon Mound. I reached Wagon Mound just before the Labor Day parade, and many folks were setting up chairs. I drove through the grasslands on Highway 120 to the east, and then had an unexpected traverse of the beautiful Cimarron River canyon. I had no idea it was here and it was truly magnificent. After the canyon, I was in the grassland uplands once again and reached Roy, New Mexico, pausing only to take photographs of a painting marking when Bob Wills played here, one of my favorite musicians. Thereafter, Highway 120 became even more interesting, with sunflowers and other plants growing right next to the road; no shoulder. It was like driving through Oz. I entered the ranch at one of the bends in 120. I thought I would have to walk from here, but the ranch was open and the road heading due south was passable in a rental car. With about 1.5 miles to the confluence, I parked and set out walking, looking forward to a walk on the shortgrass prairie. I turned into the gate northwest of an abandoned prairie home, which I vowed to photograph on the way back, setting off for the hills to the east of the home. I took care to watch for snakes, as I had seen one along the road earlier as I walked, and the terrain proved to be a bit difficult to hike over. Fortunately the weather was not too hot or windy. I don't recommend this hike during a storm of any kind--wind, rain, or snow: It is completely exposed to the elements, with no trees for miles. After about a 45 minute hike from my starting point on the hike, I arrived at the confluence.
The confluence lies on land sloping moderately to the east. It was hard to believe that I was only the second visitor, after the recorded visit from 2001. It was just before noon in late summer--early September--a magnificent time to be outside in New Mexico. Some wildflowers were still growing. It was about 80 F under moderate winds with mostly clear skies. I had visited 36 North numerous times in the past, from California on the west to North Carolina on the east. My treks to 106 West had been fewer--from Montana on the north to just one degree north of here in Colorado. It was wonderful to be back at this point, one of the loneliest I have visited in my 300+ point journeys spanning nearly 15 years. The hills surround the point, with a few rocks, sage, and grasses. I could see a ranch house far off to the northeast. Given my goals of the day, I spent only 25 or so minutes at the site. I saw no people, no animals but some evidence of cattle.
I hiked back the way I had come in, but stopping to film videos and take photographs of the abandoned house. I was just in the middle of reading "The Worst Hard Time", a book about The Dust Bowl, and wondered when this house had been abandoned. It was only big enough for two small rooms, but I could see evidence of an orchard by the dead trees there.
I resumed my hike and filmed some along the road, as well. I now set my sights on 37 North 104 West. It was a great day and I had some great moments at this site. Get out there and explore the world!