13-Jun-2012 -- This is the fourth of eight planned confluences on our expedition along 38 and 39 north. We had left 38N 110W earlier in the day. There are no direct roads between these two confluences. We took a very scenic drive and crossed the Colorado River at Hite Crossing. It was a race against the sun again in an attempt to get on top of Tarantula Mesa before dark. When we finally stopped, we had travelled 295 miles in 10 hours between these two remote confluences just one degree in latitude apart.
We turned south onto Notom Road which became dirt after several miles. We passed several road graders – maybe they were getting ready to pave more of it. We turned east here. The road was fairly decent dirt but as we started climbing up the mesa, it alternated between rocky, sandy, and just simply a rough double track the closer we got to the top. How many people really have a desire to get to the top of Tarantula Mesa anyway?
We stopped here just about 2 miles from the confluence and set up for another austere night of camping. After checking in with both of our daughters via satellite phone, we were treated to another tremendous night sky of stars.
In the morning, we hiked over relatively flat ground to a point about 260 meters southeast of the confluence where we were stopped by a very deep east-west gorge. The ground was generally sandy and scattered with bushes. We tracked northeast following the gorge around to the north side. We found the zeropoint not too far from the edge. We looked for the cairn left by Scott Arey but could not find it.
The gnats had found us again and, after about 20 minutes at the confluence enjoying the view, capturing data and taking pictures, we decided to head back proceeding almost due east until we intercepted the double track and then continued south back to our vehicle. This would have been the preferred path to the confluence but then we wouldn’t have had the scenic walk around the east end of the gorge.
You can experience the drive to where we parked with a time lapse movie created from our our GoPro camera that was taking pictures of our entire trip every 10 seconds. Follow along on a YouTube video here. It’s HD so you should be able to select full screen. Don’t forget the volume! Here’s a Google Earth Movie created from our GPS trail from where we parked to the confluence.
Picture #6 shows a TerraSync screen shot on the left captured at the confluence and the resulting Pathfinder Office post processed GPS data on the right. Picture #10 is a cylindrical panoramic QuickTime Virtual Reality movie taken at the confluence. You can interactively zoom in and out throughout the image when displayed.
We arrived back at the car 2:30 after departing and we would spend the next 2:10 driving the 32.8 miles back to the pavement on Notom Road.
This visit connects the dots for me along 38 north. An unbroken line of twenty six successful confluence visits from Point Reyes on the Pacific Ocean at 123 west all the way to Hutchison in central Kansas at 98 west. That’s more than half way to the Chesapeake Bay!
What a memorable confluence visit!
The next stop along our our adventure would be 39N 111W.