12-Jan-2001 -- Our visit to the 50N/114W confluence today was successful. My son Shimon (aged 7), Jackson (dog),
and I left from our home in Calgary and drove south on Hwy 2 to Claresholm. The snowless, very mild
weather of the past three weeks ended today with overcast skies, light snow and a temperature of -5 C.
We turned west from the flat prairie into the scenic, rolling Porcupine Hills and followed a good gravel
secondary road, and a not so good side ranch road crossing pastures with grazing cows. We came to
the inevitable "road closed" sign 171 km from home. With 1:50,000 maps in hand we followed the
snow covered closed road for an hour (3 km) winding up the Trout Creek Valley. En route we stopped at a hay
storage barn and a beaver pond on Trout Creek. Because of cows the dog stayed unwillingly on his leash!
The confluence point is in a small grove of poplar trees and chokecherry by Trout Creek surrounded
by open grazing land. After changing the GPS from the UTM to lat/long setting my hands were quite cold, but
the readout was satisfying. The view to the north included a the classic ranching landscape with
cattle being fed by the ranch hand. Behind this the fir-covered ridges of the Porcupine
Hills were visible despite cloud. The snowfall from last night completed the scene.
We took the photos, ate a quick lunch, and headed for home the way we came in. We met the ranch
hand en route who looked a bit surprised to see us but was otherwise friendly. We witnessed
"feeding time at the zoo" as herds trotted single file from the surrounding hills toward the hay
on the ranch hand's truck. Once driving again one snowy steep hill on the way out made me very
worried about getting out but we topped out going maybe 2 km/hour).