27-May-2002 -- After departing 48°N 105°W yesterday, I drove about 4 hours to Minot, ND where I spent the night. Today is Memorial Day. I got up this morning and continued on toward this confluence - the 18th of this trip. It is in the Prairie Pothole Region where there are thousands of lakes which were left as glaciers retreated northward thousands of years ago.
I passed by some buffalo grazing less than 10 miles from the spot and stopped to see them. I’ve never seen one in person before and was amazed by how huge they were. I’m glad there was a fence between us. Just down the road from where I saw the buffalo, a hen turkey crossed the road in front of me and I saw a beaver just as I turned off the paved road a few miles from the confluence.
I drove about 2 miles across the prairie, which was slow going because the 2-rut road was almost gone. I don’t think it had been used in a long time. I was able to drive to about ¼ mile from the point and hiked the rest of the way. The hike wasn’t easy because I had to wade through tall, dead grass. Just as I topped a small rise, I surprised a whitetail deer that was sleeping. She sprang up and hopped off through the tall grass, never looking back.
When I made it to the spot, there was a stone and a red survey flag stuck in the ground beside it. Somebody had obviously marked the spot. Because the confluence was in a depression, I walked about 20 yards to the top of a hill to take the photos.
While driving back to the paved road, a large raccoon ran across in front of me. Raccoons don’t get that big where I come from, so I stopped to try to get a photo of it. It headed down a hill and I took off after it on foot. I hadn’t walked very far when a duck flew out of the grass just ahead of me. Startled, I threw up my camera and snapped a picture. I couldn’t believe the luck, but I somehow got a decent shot of it. The raccoon hid amongst some rocks and chunks of concrete that were fortifying an earthen dam, but I was able to get a shot of it before it disappeared. This area is just teeming with wildlife, not to mention ticks. I found several on me later and I really hate ticks.
The next stop on my confluence-visiting vacation was 48°N 99°W.