17-Aug-1999 -- Driving on I-40 in eastern New Mexico
is not exactly exciting. The few tourist traps don't have a lot to
offer, but at least a couple of confluences are near, and even
accessible to non-four-wheel-drive folks. We took the one closest to our
path, and it turned out to be an excellent first confluence.
I exited I-40 on US 84, northbound toward Anton Chico for only
about 1.7 miles. A track off to the right, just like MapBlast showed,
marked 35N to my satisfaction. I stopped on the shoulder and left my
brave wife reading in the car; I crawled through a barbed-wire fence and
dead-reckoned my way about 1700 feet due west. Once I got there, I
reckoned that the rabbitbrush plant in Picture #1 was the official
confluence shrub, and so I took its picture.
Looking north from this spot, the plains continue with not a lot
of interruption; the small grove of trees in Picture #3 are probably a
homesite. You may be able to see some low hills or ridges in the
distance -- real mountains are only 50 miles or so up that way. Picture #4
from the confluence. Notice how the telephone poles bring out the
vertical aspect of the landscape. Heck, they ARE the vertical aspect!
Finally, photo #2 looks SSE back toward I-40. The trees in this
picture do surround a house, most likely the home of the people whose
land I was trespassing on. I was, however, finished trespassing, and
hiked back to the car, leaving only the memory of my footprints and the
small piece of shirt that I snagged on the barbed wire.