09-Oct-2011 -- This would be the first of eleven confluence visits on a trip to Colorado for my 25 year Academy reunion.
I made it to Hatch around lunch time. It had been almost a month after the famous Hatch Chili Festival, but there were still a lot of people and thousands of red chilis on display. I stopped at Subway’s for lunch and gas before continuing on. On satellite radio, I heard the Talking Heads' song Road to Nowhere – what an inspirational and descriptive confluence song! I continued eastbound from Truth or Consequences on NM-51 and passed by the Elephant Butte Dam. The water level was so low, you could walk up the spillway.
It is possible to get to this confluence almost entirely by paved roads, it is also possible to detour along powerline double tracks roads (don’t ask). Just remember, the shortest way may not be the fastest.
Turn south on Upham Road (County Road A13) and then continue until Aleman Road (County Road A021, dirt) towards Cain’s Bar Cross Ranch. I parked just north of the power lines and walked 500 meters east towards the confluence. There is just enough of a rise to mask your hike from the ranch complex to the south. I found the confluence to be in a flat open area. The mound described by Scott Surgent and Beth Cousland was still there. The root system of the sagebrush was effectively preventing wind erosion. It was the only noticeable feature nearby. I had multiple GPS devices with me: my SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and a Trimble Juno that I would use to differentially correct all my confluence visits upon my return.
Pathfinder Office Post Processing 509 data points from my Trimble Juno revealed an average position of 32° 59’ 59.99017”N, 107° 00’ 00.01492”W with a horizontal precision of 2.0 meters and an altitude of 1421.257 meters with a vertical precision of 1.2 meters.
On my way out, I passed the entrance to Spaceport America. The hangars resemble the TAG Terminal at Farnborough. I was a week early for the Spaceport’s Dedication by NM Governor Susana Martinez and Sir Richard Branson!
I continued south on Upham Road. It was now dirt with sections that had a fine and powdery consistency, and then becoming a solid washboard intermixed with mud from recent rains. My vehicle was extremely dusty inside and dirty outside by the time I made it back to pavement at I-25.
My hike was 1 km and 30 minutes roundtrip. I would recommend approaching and departing from the north along Upham road, it would be simpler and your vehicle will remain much cleaner!
My adventure continues at 33N 106W!