27-Apr-2001 -- I headed out of Detroit Lakes, MN from the intersection of US Highway
10 and 59, near the west edge of town. I traveled north on US 59N toward my
destination of Callaway, MN. This highway is said to follow the ridge which
delineates the western Minnesota prairie, stretching west to the North Dakota
border, from the Minnesota forest and lake country, which continues all the way
to Canada and Wisconsin. After driving north about eight miles through the tiny
town of Westbury, I was able to look to my left and see prairie land filled with
ponds and potholes stretching all the way to the horizon. Looking to my right,
I could see the start of the forest areas rising in hills covered with hardwood
I traveled 12 miles north on highway 59 to the town of Callaway, population 212.
A mile north of Callaway, I turned left onto Becker County 14 headed west. This
road was under construction and closed to through traffic, but I drove around
the detour signs and headed west. This road was very close to following the
47th Latitude. My GPS indicated that I needed to go about 5 miles straight
west. I had to detour around an impassable half-mile stretch of construction,
but when the construction is completed, this will be a very easy confluence to
After reaching a point 2.5 miles west on County 14, I had reached an
intersection which said I was entering the "Hubble Slough National Wildlife
Refuge". The area was filled with wetlands and birds were everywhere. I saw
many kinds of ducks, Canadian Honker geese, flocks of pelicans flying, hawks and
eagles. The land containing the confluence turned out to be bordered on the
south by the refuge and west by a "Waterfowl Production Area".
I had traveled west 3.5 miles on County 14 when I came to an intersection marked
190th Ave. (Minnesota now has street signs on rural roads). My GPS showed I was
close. Turning to the right (north), I traveled .5 miles to the 47th Latitude.
My GPS indicated that the confluence was less than a quarter mile due west in
the middle of a plowed field. This area had a late April eight inch snowstorm
five days earlier and the field was still a muddy quagmire. The rich sugar beet
soil stuck to my boots like glue and soon each boot weighed in at pounds each.
After photographing the confluence, I stopped by the beautiful farmstead a
quarter mile to the North and informed farmer Jim Matter of the Degree
Confluence Project. Having the letter to the landowner was a nice touch and it
was nice to have something to leave with Mr. Matter that would remind him of
where to find the project on the Internet.
This was an interesting area with many kinds of birds to make the trip unique.