03-Jul-2002 -- We left the Cypress Hills Provincial Park in the morning and drove on gravel roads to Climax, Saskatchewan. After provisioning ourselves with water and gummy bears at Browns' General Store we drove west and south until we came to the end of the road near the U.S. border. We determined that the confluence was in the P.F.R.A. pasture, so drove eastward to the home of the pasture manager. We introduced ourselves to Harold Geiger and he invited us into his house. After we explained the project he offered to travel with us to show us a trail through the pasture that would lead us close to the confluence.
We drove west and then south until we reached the end of the gravel road. Harold was 'riding shotgun', and offered to open gates in the barbed wire fences as we travelled through the pasture. Once we were through the first gate we followed a faint trail in the grass. This area is normally very dry, but due to some extra rainfall this spring the native prairie was green and quite tall. We carefully followed the trail avoiding rocks sticking out of the ground. Harold pointed out hilltops that had native tipi rings still intact on their tops. We saw many forms of prairie wildlife including hawks, prairie chickens, gophers, pronghorn antelope, white-tail deer, and mule deer. The prairie flowers were in bloom in the low wet areas.
As we got close to the confluence the trail disappeared completely but we continued to drive across the native prairie avoiding rocks and low areas. Near the confluence we suddenly found ourselves in a wet area and our vehicle (fondly known as "Old Ralph") bogged down and we almost got stuck. Fortunately we were able to get out the other side.
We found the confluence just north of the barbed-wire fence that divides the U.S.A. from Canada. We took pictures in each of the cardinal directions. It seems that there are normally two fences, one in each country, with a "no-man's land" between, but apparently the Americans have removed their fence in this area and are now grazing cattle on reclaimed land. However, it still seems that the border fence is on U.S. soil, as our GPS definitely showed that the 49th parallel was north of the fence.
We took our photos, and returned the way we had come. We found a permanent monument a short distance from the confluence that marked the border.
We heard a story about a local rancher who used to have an annual 'border picnic' where once a year locals from both sides of the border met and had a barbeque in the no-man's land. There was even an outhouse permanently located at the site.
We drove through some starkly beautiful country as we returned to the Cypress Hills.
Coordinator's Note: The international border between Canada and the USA along the 49th parallel
is not defined by the 49th parallel, but by a series of straight lines between boundary monuments. The actual
border ranges both above and below 49°N, by varying amounts. At 108°W the border is about 31m
south of 49°N, therefore this confluence is in Saskatchewan.