21-Jan-2002 -- Confluence.org states on the "How to visit a confluence" page: "Good luck, have fun and be adventurous". I encountered an abundance of all three on this day.
Heading back to Denver from my first confluence visit (43/-106), I-25 brought me within about 20 miles of this major meridian confluence. I exited the Interstate at Douglas and took Wyoming 59 to Walker Creek Rd. (Converse Co. 43), followed that roughly NE for 8 miles and veered East onto Manning Road (Converse Co. 53). Five miles along Manning, I turned onto an unmarked road that entered what is nearly the only forestland in the quad. I negotiated the road in 4WD Hi and blessed my luck for 50-degree temps and sunny skies. If the conditions were wet, this silty road would have been marshland. In dry conditions, the road is very rutty, and there are a few steep approach and departure angles through two dry creek beds, requiring a high clearance vehicle. I drove in on the forest road about five miles from Manning Road and parked within sixth-tenths of a mile from the confluence.
There is another possible access point -- a road forks from the forest path and approaches within a quarter mile of the confluence, but it descends out of the woods onto private land. The forested portion of the grid around the confluence appears to be public land or is non-maintained land of a nearby ranch. At one point, a portion of a barbed wire fence runs perpendicular to the forest road, but there is no gate, no signs are present and the fence is in the process of collapse.
My hike began almost precisely due south of 43N 105W. I decided to take a straight-line approach to my target through the dense forest. The 0.6 mile line to the confluence required 3 staggered descents of 90 – 120 feet and 2 inclines of like amounts. The setting was as distant from civilization as I have experienced. Hearing only the whistle of the winds through the pines, I decided I had better make noise should there be any predatory wildlife in the area. I yelled out Army cadences as I approached dense groves of pines or clearings along the sides of the hill. I did manage to flush out some wildlife – a small herd of 3 elk, one a 10-point buck. After giving a startled look, they proceeded ahead of me, directly toward the confluence (I wasn't sure if they had a GPS and were going to try to bag this point just before me). I kept expecting to see more forest creatures, as numerous recesses exist in the hills, however, all I saw were a few birds in flight. About halfway between the forest road and the confluence is an old abandoned road with large trees fallen across it. In about this same vicinity, on the next incline, I crossed another dilapidated section of barbed wire fence. The geology of the area includes rock that is soft and eroded; there are also a few large solid boulders, similar to those found in the Rampart Range in Colorado. The entire length of the hike revealed few deciduous trees; it is almost all pine around the confluence.
The site of 43N 105W is remote and has a simple beauty. It is in a clearing, surrounded on three sides by moderately forested upslope. A curious comparison to my successful stop earlier in the day -- here I was more than 600 feet lower in elevation, yet it seemed as if I had ascended into the mountains. It was as if I completed the idyllic Steinbeck-ian journey, over just 50 miles. While still windy, the air in this locale had a different character than the dustbowl feel of 43N 106W. Here, the wind flowed through the trees making a unique sound each time. There were a few instances that it was quiet enough for me to hear my heart beat. And, most pleasing, the elk did not submit this confluence first.