02-Jan-2006 -- We were returning home from a short two-day jaunt to the Winslow area and a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park. Two confluences have rather easy access from I-40: we made a short detour to visit N35-W110 yesterday, and today we planned a visit to its western neighbor, N35-W111, located just southeast of the famed Meteor Crater.
We left the interstate and traveled south to a dirt road veering south off the main paved road. About two miles later we came to an intersection with a faint track leading southeast. Nothing more than a two-track cut into the grassland, the quality improved quite a bit and ironically was better than the main road, which was in bad need of a grading. The road passed through a small stand of sparse juniper woodland, then came to a fenceline and a north-south road, which we followed north about a half-mile to a gate at the corner of section 6 of TWP 18 N and section 31 of TWP 19 N - a marker post in the ground helped us peg our location! We passed through this gate - a flimsy wire-stick crumple gate that falls in a heap once opened and is difficult to close afterwards. No signs prohibited access, and not a soul was to be seen for miles. We went northeast along the road another 0.7-mile and parked southeast of Horse Pasture Tank, about a half-mile from the confluence.
Beth's ankle was still sensitive from a slight strain from the day before, but we taped it up and she managed the short hike fine; we found the confluence without difficulty, a lonely spot amid an endless scape of low grass and distant hills and volcanic plugs. We found a suspicious looking object 'at' the confluence (a few feet from where we zeroed our GPS) and surmised this was probably left as a marker by a previous visitor. We snapped our photos, all the while warding off the fierce wind that brought a lot of dust with it. From here we backtracked out to the interstate and on home to Phoenix, taking some forest roads as a detour just for the experience.
Our photos show lots of flat and grass. To the northwest (main photo) the distant profile of the San Francisco Peaks and its highest summit, Humphreys Peak - the highest mountain in Arizona at 12,633 feet - stand tall on the horizon. Closer to us is a short band of hills that are actually the crater rim of the meteor strike that hit here about 50,000 years ago. Since we'd visited the Meteor Crater before, we opted not to see it again. The rest of the shots are the required cardinal photos.