31-Mar-2004 -- This confluence visit had been planned for some time as I had surfed into the a link to this DCP site in January -04 and knew I just had to make an attempt to nail it. I read with great interest the logs of previous visits. This was a good day. I was successful on this my first try.
I left my home just north of the 41st parallel and 112W Northern Utah at about 5:30 AM , I wanted to make this run SOLO, I enjoy the solitude of wide open spaces. It was a beautiful clear morning departing home but the further North I traveled the more cloudy it became. It was highs in the low 70’s, rather warm and dry for this early in the season.
I took the Snowville UT. Exit 5 off I-84 and drove west on SR30 until I reached the Curlew Power Sub-Station. A distance of about 10 miles. From here I turned north on a well maintained gravel road (36000 West) and drove northbound another 2.2 miles until I reached the second of two cattle guards and the fence line at the Utah -Idaho State Line.
From this point on the State Line I worked my Magellan Meridian Platinum GPSr as I wanted to see how far off the 1870/ 1871 Cadastral Land Survey was from the actual 42nd N latitude where Congress ordered the Utah /Idaho line to be established. I marked the center of the cattle guard as a way point (41 59.919 N / 112 56.684 W) and walked north on the road until my GPSr indicated 42 00.000 North. On this day I found the marked state line to be 489 ft. south of the WGS84 42nd parallel. Looking at a state map, I see the error gets greater the further west you go from this point. Idaho gained a bit of Utah Territory from result of this 1871 survey.
While at the cattle guard working with the GPSr I scaled it down to the 500ft range, and there was a road shown on the detail map ( Magellan Mapsend TOPO detail map v.20 ) heading west along the north side of the state line fence toward the confluence marked 27440 N road. Visually looking , it appeared to be a rough rutted two track and was just on the north or Idaho side of the fence as GPSr had indicated. ( See Picture) I decided to try it.
My GPSr indicated the confluence was marked at 2.84 miles west. I was in a small 4X4 pickup truck, I never had to “lock- In” and made the trip to destination and back to this point in 2 wheel drive. When I reached the 113.00.000 W indication on the GPSr where I stopped in the wheel ruts, I had traveled exactly 3 miles. It was a bit dusty and a little bumpy on this day but I drove west right alongside the fence.
At 113 00.000 West, I marked the border fence with some yellow surveyors tape. To this point there are no gates or fences to cross. I never ran into any folks out and about. I never saw any "NO Trespassing Signs" . ( Very Refreshing) I did see one buck Antelope on the way along the fence line. This road appears to be on public lands ( Curlew Nation Grasslands) I felt Welcome.
About mid point, 1.8 miles west of 36000W Cattle Guard with 1.2 miles to go to the Confluence, a faint set of wheel ruts vectored off to the NW. (41 59.906N /112 58.767W) My GPSr indicated that faint track had a road number of 38000 West. I suspect this is the rutted road the other successful Confluence visitors had started south on from 3100 South, before they decided to park and walk the last mile to the Confluence. The GPSr indicated the road I was traveling west on changed names to State Line Road from this point on. The sage became much thinner at this point on west. I wondered if there had been a wild fire here many years ago, as the thin stands of sagebrush are now mostly mixed grassy areas. I thought this might be the result of many years of drought and over grazing.
Further west, at the 3 corners in the fence lines, the road is gated at the fence at Cassia/ Oneida county line (113 00.080W) and continues through on westward . The gate was open on this day. I would not recommend trying this route in wet or muddy conditions, higher type profile vehicles are required to avoid high centering in some of the deeper wheel ruts.
At the 113 00.000 West, where parked, I walked about 678 feet due North to the 42N X 113W Confluence. Here I took some pictures. I Found no markers, no cairns, and no material to build one. There is not much ground cover around the Confluence, just some scrub sage and a little grass. Plenty of dried cow chips in the area but no cattle. "Ground Zero…" Ah, 10 Zeros on GPSr, Oh Yes, no problem, nothing to obstruct the signals here. No victory dance , but I did open a celebratory bottle of water and enjoyed a cool drink and finished taking my required photos. I did scrape a small shallow one foot X in the dirt with the heel of my boot at the point of 10 zeros on the GPSr.
It was still early mid morning as I walked to the fence corners, Cassia / Oneida Counties and Utah/ Idaho State Line, I hopped the fence as the 1951 BLM Cadastral Survey Marker is one foot south of the fence on the Utah side. (41 59. 888 N / 113 00 .080 W) Here I took some pictures at the marker. My batteries died on the camera before I had taken all the photos, I had desired. No spares today . I guess I was not as prepared as I thought. Hopefully I had taken enough pic's to post a successful visit.
I backtracked the exact route I had come in on and hope this will be a better more direct route for future visitors. It was getting cloudy and the eastern sky was darkening so I made tracks for main roads. All and all it was a great day to be out exploring on the Idaho high desert.