22-May-2002 -- After my unsuccessful visit to 44N 107W, I made my way out of the Bighorn Mountains and headed northeast. The snow turned to a steady rain as I entered lower elevations and I figured attempting another confluence was probably an exercise in futility. But since I was on vacation and had limited time to visit all the confluences I wanted to visit, I had to try.
I turned off US Highway 14 east of Leiter, Wyoming onto Lower Powder River Road. Although it was still raining, the road was in good condition considering it was gravel. I met a UPS truck along the way, so I was optimistic that I might be able to make it. I continued in a northerly direction on gravel roads for about 35 miles (56 km) and turned onto Highline Road.
Highline Road was saturated and extremely muddy. I was slipping and sliding all over the place. It [wasn't] long before I came to a steep hill that went about 200 feet up (61 meters) to a ridgeline. I made it about halfway up before I lost traction. Precariously, I backed down the hill. Slid down the hill is probably a better way of saying it. I almost fell off the side a few times on the way down, which would have rolled my truck for sure. But I eventually made it to the bottom in one piece. However, I was still facing backwards and the road was just too muddy to turn around on. So I backed out into a field going as fast as I could and then back toward the road. As I reached the road, I whipped the steering wheel around and the truck spun around facing the right direction on the road. It was a slick (pun intended) maneuver.
I drove down the road some and pulled off next to an abandoned homesteader house, trying to decide what to do. I was thinking about camping out and trying it again the next morning if the rain stopped and the road dried up some by then. After an hour or so, a man and his wife drove by and pulled over because they thought I was broken down. I told them what I was doing and that I might wait until morning to see if I could get up that hill. The man said it would take 2 or 3 days of dry weather before Highline Road would be passable. I thanked him for the info and decided to abort this attempt.
The day wasn’t turning out very well with two unsuccessful attempts so far. The closest I got to this one was 5 miles, but there were a river, mountains, and ravines between it and me. It was 26 miles (42 km) by road from where I got stuck to the confluence. Not even close. In retrospect, I should have approached the confluence from the west. Looking at a topographic map, the terrain appears to be flatter.
With hopes that the roads would be better, I decided to try one more that day and headed towards 45N 105W.