21-Jul-2000 -- I left Albuquerque heading West on I-40 toward
exit #140. After being stuck in traffic for twenty minutes,
(I completely forgot about the massive reconstruction
project going on till 2002) it was a quick 25-mile drive
out to the town of Rio Puerco.
To reach the confluence, I took exit 140 and headed south.
On the south end is a Stuckey's station. At the station is
a one-lane dirt road that stretches to the west paralleling
eastbound I-40. At the top of a hill, the road turns left
and south and is fronted by a rather imposing
"No Trespassing" sign (see photo below). The confluence
is on the tribal land of the Laguna Pueblo, but this was
no match for a confluence hunter.
The road then winds down south for about 3 - 5 miles,
passing by two homes and stopping at what seemed to be an
abandoned farm (see photo). At this point I almost gave up,
because the road stretched out more but was blocked by a
barbed wire fence. On one side of the fence was a corral
with its gates open (luck or another confluence hunter
perhaps?) which allowed me to bypass the fence and start
hiking the 2 miles or so toward the confluence.
35N 106.995W is home to a very large shade tree with fallen
branches that serve as a nice place to rest for a moment.
This tree had a dead branch that snagged my shirt which tore
up the back, causing the first casualty of 35N 107W.
Apparently I underestimated my maps and had not taken enough
water; I finished off my last bottle just outside of the
confluence. Beginning to dehydrate, I reached the confluence
and took the pictures as shown below. 35N 107W is up on a
hill overlooking my entire hike route in an open clearing
of sagebrush and cactus.
Nearby was the blocked dirt road which I was able to follow
all the way back to the fence and corral. I probably would
have died of thirst and been eaten alive by the wandering
cows if I hadn't found this shortcut back to my car.