05-Jun-2001 -- Middle Mountain Confluence.
The most remote and most spectacular of our Confluence Hat Trick (see 40N/109W and 41N/108W), Middle Mountain afforded inspiring views under a lowering sky. The marked border of Colorado and Wyoming is about thirty yards from the Confluence as determined by the GPS. There’s even a small sign on the fence that is the border.
To reach the third goal of our Confluence quest, we traveled 45 miles on Moffat County Road 4 from its intersection with Wyoming Highway 430 about three miles north of the Colorado – Wyoming border. Proceeding on 430 south, it eventually became Moffat County Road 10N as we re-entered Colorado. Approximately five miles south of the border, we turned right onto Moffat County Road 72, which bears northwest toward Wyoming.
From this point, County 72 is 18 miles of gravel, dirt, mud and boulders as it climbs to the Confluence and the border. 4-wheel drive is required. Pronghorn antelope were out and about in significant numbers. A Golden Eagle soared overhead.
Despite the long drive over rough terrain, we were able to make a relatively close approach to the Confluence behind the wheel. The geographic point rests atop a rise that allows clear views in all directions save due west which is obscured by a large conifer just a few yards from the Confluence. We knew that our destination was near as we walked up the small incline. A couple of steps this way and that and the GPS pinpointed our goal at 3:50 pm MST. We had achieved our Confluence Hat Trick.
A temperature in the upper 40’s accompanied by a stiff 15-20 mph westerly breeze and slate skies seemed ideal for this location. Some of the nearby peaks had lingering patches of snow. An enticing stand of Aspen trees populated the low area to the north. Ideal bear habitat.
After taking directional pictures and some wildflower shots, we decided to drive through the open gate in the fence line and enter Wyoming. We proceeded for about one quarter mile when the road took a steep decline into the Aspen forest. A short distance down the road it appeared to be impassable due to severe washout. Reluctantly, we turned our Jeep back to Colorado.
Middle Mountain is certainly worth the effort to visit. The Confluence is on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Had we the time, we agreed that this would have made for an excellent overnight trip.