08-Oct-2002 -- We left Regina shortly after 8:00 AM. Alan had a round-trip route mapped out to take us along some highways we had yet to travel. First, however, we had to stop at Arby's for "Marketfresh" sandwiches to go. They make a great confluence lunch. We headed southeast on Highway 33 to Francis where we turned south at Highway 35 to head for the border. Our plan to see new scenery along the way was thwarted by heavy fog. All we saw for the first 100 kilometers were the ditches along the highway and the pavement a few meters ahead. By the time we reached Weyburn the sun was breaking through the fog. We could see! For the most part the harvest is finished in this area. Many trees are bare of leaves. Those leaves still clinging to the trees are beautiful shades of yellow or brown. The whole countryside was shades of brown and gold with tinges of fresh green growth from recent rains. In the small lakes along the way migratory birds such as snow geese and pelicans were gathering for their flights south. There are lots of pump jacks at work in the fields since this part of southern Saskatchewan is rich in oil reserves.
Sixteen kilometers north of the United States/Canadian border we turned west onto Highway 18. Using the GPS to guide us we followed graveled grid roads until we were near W104. Here we turned south on a dirt road. It had rained overnight so this road was slippery. Mud was flying out from under the wheels. We were stopped by a barbed wire fence with gate which had a trail leading off across the pasture in the direction of the confluence. Because of the recent rain we decided we should not cross this pasture in our van. Our walk was 1.8 km across the pasture, over some hills, through little valleys, along cow paths, over prairie grasses mixed with small wild flowers and low cactuses, through small thick bushes and across a dried up slough (pond) to the fence along the border. Almost everything was in shades of brown - grasses, bushes, leaves, mud and cow pies. One odd sight was that of a few crocuses in bloom. These furry purple flowers are usually one of the first signs of Spring in prairie fields. Some had gotten their signals crossed. It was noon and by this time the sky was blue and bright sunshine was warming the air. It was 0°C when we left home but by mid day it was 10°. The breezes were cool.
With the confluence situated south of the barbed wire fence, we were forced to crawl under it. border monument #585 was also south of the fence, about 24 meters southwest of the confluence. There were hills in all directions. To the northeast cows were grazing. The province of Saskatchewan was to the north; the state of North Dakota to the south. The border monument had United States printed on the south side, Treaty of 1908 on the west side, Canada was printed on the north side, and Convention of 1818 on the west side. Stamped in the cement base was "Renewed 1993".
On our return walk to the van we climbed a couple of the highest hills to take overview photos. Part way up one hill a little garter snake slithered along through the grass. There were lots of cow pies to avoid stepping in - some were very fresh. Rocks left from the last ice age were scattered over the landscape.
Back in our van we had one more destination. 3½ km west of the confluence along the border was tri-corner border monument #583. It marks the place where the north end of the border dividing the states of North Dakota and Montana meet the southern border of the province of Saskatchewan. We were able to drive as close as 1½ km. There was a road through a gate that led to two pump jacks and closer to the spot, but a sign proclaimed that only authorized oil company employees were allowed in. We parked our van near the gate and walked along the fence, up and over the hills towards the border. A deer resting on a hill was startled as we approached. He and six others we hadn't noticed quickly ran away to watch us carefully from a distance. As we got closer they bounded off again. They seemed nervous as if they know that it is almost hunting season even though we did notice that most properties in the area had "No Hunting" signs posted. After climbing under a barbed wire fence we took photos showing the border monument, the two states and one province. Someone had constructed a small rock circle beside the monument to mark the spot. The "Montana - North Dakota - Saskatchewan tri-point can also be seen at The Corner Corner web site. "The Corner Corner documents, but cannot truly explain, the hobby of visiting locations like:
* Places where three or more states or provinces meet at a point.
* The northernmost, easternmost, southernmost, and westernmost points in states and provinces.
* Other prominent boundary junctions and angles."
Other border search projects exist in Europe and along the United States/Mexican border.
After a foggy start, we were pleased to end up with such a beautiful sunny day. We had our longest walks yet to find a confluence. Nearby we found our first tri-corner after another long walk, but the walks and fresh air were invigorating. It was a nice change to be in hilly country. On our return across the great flat plains south of Regina we were able to identify towns and landmarks on the horizon as far as 40 to 50 km away. We totaled 440 km on our 11 hour round trip. It was a good day.