03-Sep-2001 -- The confluence of 46 degrees north and 109 degrees west is about 30 miles from my house in Billings, Montana. Since I discovered this website several months ago, I felt certain that someone would visit this confluence before I did. But no one did, and I was finally able to borrow a Magellan GPS receiver from my brother Mike and enjoy the Labor Day holiday by making the attempt.
The first 20 miles or so west of Billings is on a paved road that gently winds among the rimrocks toward the small farm community of Molt. After that, there are gravel and dirt roads of varying quality every mile that form a criss-cross grid of roads running north-south and east-west, marking the original surveyors' section lines. Land use in the area alternates between cattle grazing and crop farming.
From studying maps, it appeared that the confluence mark would be about a quarter mile off the road, and sure enough it was. The main challenge I anticipated was figuring out who the owner of the land was, as ranches and farms are often quite large. Luckily enough, the owner's house was not only on the road close to the confluence but was right on the 46 degree North line, where I had planned on stopping anyway. I rang the doorbell, traded a few words with a nice gentleman farmer, and got permission to go up the gentle hill onto his land about 300 meters. It was an easy hike, as it appeared he had just harvested his hay, leaving only short stalks about 20 centimeters high in the ground. There wasn't even a barbed-wire fence to negotiate, although for a few moments I was nervous that the fence just east of the confluence would prove to be a barrier.
The pictures show the semi-arid agricultural nature of eastern Montana, but smoke from forest fires obscures the full beauty of the confluence. The Snowy, Beartooth, and Crazy mountain ranges would all be visible in the distance from near the confluence on a clear day.
This is a confluence that no one would visit by accident, but it was a nice afternoon and a good first effort.