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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : California

10.5 miles (16.9 km) ESE of Mojave, Kern, CA, USA
Approx. altitude: 779 m (2555 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 35°S 62°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: 360-degree panorama standing at the confluence point (thumbnail is a partial view) #3: A striking Joshua tree near the confluence point #4: The brave Toyota parked by the road #5: Garbage detracting from the beauty of the landscape

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  35°N 118°W (visit #1)  

#1: A beatiful shot of the high desert and the Sierra Nevadas

(visited by Joshua McGee and Jennifer McGee)

23-Oct-1999 -- My wife and I had planned to wake at 06h00, but unfortunately the alarm clock was set incorrectly. Nudging me awake at 07h30, my wife said we should probably get going ... and we did.

The point on the earth's surface at 35 degrees north, 118 degrees west is in the high desert of Southern California at the very southern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The drive is a very reasonable ninety minutes from our home on well-maintained highways. We took the 23 to the 118 to the 14 through Palmdale-Lancaster out to Mojave, where we took a right on highway 58 towards Edwards Air Force Base, and then turned off onto "graded dirt roads" (fortunately much better roads than in our last adventure.

Immediately to the north of Edwards Air Force Base runs a major freight railway, and immediately north of the railway lies the confluence point. I had worried initially that the Military Police might give us some trouble about being so close to the northwest corner of the base, but we did not see another person once we left the highway. We drove on a road that parallels the railway and parked the car along the side (visible in Picture #4) as soon as we passed 118W.

From there we had a lovely walk of about a third of a mile. Even though it was 10h30 when we started wandering around the desert, the temperature was still comfortably in the low 70s (Fahrenheit, of course.) About 11h00 we reached the confluence point. I took several pictures of the GPS receiver, but our cheap 35mm autofocus camera seemed unable to focus on the screen (I have several shots with a blurred GPS receiver in the foreground and very crisp brush in the background.) When Pictures #1 and #2 were taken, however, the GPS read 35°00.00"N, 118°00.00"W ... perfect to the accuracy of my GPS receiver.

On the way back we stopped to take a Picture #3, a shot of a beautiful Joshua tree near the confluence point (the tree was thusly named by Brigham Young of the early LDS church because it suggested the upraised arms of Joshua welcoming the Israelites to the promised land.) If you look very closely you can see the same tree in the third-to-last frame of the panorama, Picture #2.

The trip was very pleasurable and rewarding except for one element. As you can see in Picture #5 some individuals have taken to using the beautiful high desert as a public garbage dump. The ground in certain areas is also littered with cans, shattered bottles, and spent ammunition shells. Next time I visit the area I will be sure to take a heavy-duty outdoor trashbag with me to pick up litter that I find. I am sure that confluence visitors and those who take interest in their travels have a deep love of the Earth, and perhaps we can make a point to clean as well as photograph the areas we visit, to help maintain the beauty of this planet for future adventurers.

And that's it ... on our way home, we stopped at the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound's Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond, a free (donations accepted) zoo for wild cats where you one can learn more about the center's efforts to ensure continuation of the planets disappearing wild cat species. Membership is available, cheap, and allows one to take photographs of the cats: if you are in the area, I highly recommend the trip.


 All pictures
#1: A beatiful shot of the high desert and the Sierra Nevadas
#2: 360-degree panorama standing at the confluence point (thumbnail is a partial view)
#3: A striking Joshua tree near the confluence point
#4: The brave Toyota parked by the road
#5: Garbage detracting from the beauty of the landscape
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)