08-Oct-2000 -- The Degree Confluence Project -- what
a fun way to teach
orienteering to a group of scouts. We gathered the appropriate topo
maps and aerial views and gave copies to the few brave scouts of Troop
824. They then had the task of getting us to the approximate location
of the confluence using the maps and compass. Once we were in the area,
the GPS took over to pinpoint the confluence.
This confluence is located in the Upper Sonoran Desert of Central
Arizona. It's located about 38 miles NNE of downtown Phoenix. The
shortest route is to take I-17 north to Table Mesa Rd. and then head
east for about 8 miles. However, I would NOT recommend that route
unless you have a high clearance 4WD vehicle. Table Mesa Rd. is a
non-maintained dirt road with several bad sections and one extremely bad
section. The easier route is to drive through Carefree, AZ and up to
Seven Springs Recreation Area. A few miles north of that, you can pick
up the east end of Table Mesa Rd. This adds about 10 more miles of dirt
road but it is passable with a high clearance 2WD truck, but 4WD is
This route gets you to within about a mile of the confluence. The
hike is uphill most of the way with an elevation gain of over 800 feet.
It can be steep and rocky but the views are rewarding. We also took
along a 3 gallon plastic bucket and buried a GPS Stash at the
Confluence. Once you get there, it's easy to find - just look for the
pile of rocks with the javalina skull on top.
The scouts and leaders from Troop 825 which went on the hike (shown
in Picture 5) are Adam Renner, Mike Hetzel, Marshall Wagner, John
Wagner, Bob Renner, and Ralph Morong.