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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Colorado

9.0 miles (14.5 km) N of Crested Butte, Gunnison, CO, USA
Approx. altitude: 3129 m (10265 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 39°S 73°E

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Stream in deep rocky gorge #3: Easy as falling off a log #4: Group at the confluence, with GPS proof #5: Eating saltines at the pre-assault party #6: View to the south, from 0.3 miles west of the confluence

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  39°N 107°W (visit #1)  

#1: View from the confluence, looking north

(visited by Russ Cooper, George Hill, Dave Balkenbush, Pat Balkenbush and Carol Cooper)

20-Jun-2001 -- After having failed to reach 39N 109W on account of a very nice padlocked gate, and after having been beaten in the race to 39N 108W, a couple of us were getting just a tad edgy. This uneasy feeling finally overwhelmed us on 19 Jun 2001 and we set out from Grand Junction, Colorado for 39N 107W, some 150 miles to the east in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. After gorging ourselves on Italian food in Gunnison, Colorado, we spent the night at "Base Camp Alpha", a family-owned cabin about 15 miles south of the confluence. Photo 5 shows a local guest at the pre-assualt saltine cracker party.

The next morning, we (after having individually prepared ourselves mentally) gorged ourselves again at "Base Camp Bravo", a bakery in Crested Butte, Colorado. Now really, really fortified (plus being mentally prepared), we drove through a ghost town called Gothic to about a mile south of the confluence. We started our hike at an elevation of 9,600 feet with a treacherous, barefoot wade through an ice-cold stream that was nearly six inches deep and at least eight feet wide.

Experienced outdoorspersons will tell you that after crossing a stream, the trail will always rise. We confirmed this. About halfway to the confluence, we had climbed to about 10,000 feet when we heard the ominous roar of a second stream. From our map, it appeared that the confluence was actually in the middle of it. The situation began to look a little worrisome when got our first glimpse (Photo 2) and began to doubt if we could negotiate the 100-foot deep, steep-walled canyon. But, we were still about half a mile from the confluence, so we pressed on to the north. As we reached an elevation of about 10,200 feet, the rocky canyon walls gave way to a gentler, forested slope, and we were able to descend to the point where the stream crossed the 39th parallel.

At this point, we realized that the map was wrong! The confluence was on the other side of the (ominous, raging) stream. Much to our amazement and delight, a huge, dead tree spanned the stream. Experienced outdoorspersons will tell you that walking on such a natural bridge is as easy as falling off a log. But we didn't we want to do that, so we developed a more conservative logomotive technique (Photo 3).

The confluence was indeed on the other side of the stream, at an elevation maybe fifty feet or so above the water. It was near the north edge of a grove of pines (Photo 4), so the views from the confluence to the east, west and south didn't show much but trees. The view to the north (Photo 1) was spectacular. Photo 6 is a view to the south from a point about 0.3 miles west of the confluence, away from the trees and above the rim of the canyon.


 All pictures
#1: View from the confluence, looking north
#2: Stream in deep rocky gorge
#3: Easy as falling off a log
#4: Group at the confluence, with GPS proof
#5: Eating saltines at the pre-assault party
#6: View to the south, from 0.3 miles west of the confluence
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
Altitude source: SRTM 90m digital elevation data