25-May-2002 -- I departed 48°N 109°W yesterday evening and drove to Malta, Montana where I spent the night in a hotel. Malta isn’t far from the Canadian border, so I took a short side trip into Canada before heading back south to this confluence. If I had known how much of a hassle it was going to be coming back into the United States, I wouldn’t have done it. A customs agent trashed the cargo area of my truck looking for who knows what, but never opened my glove compartment or console. I wasn’t very impressed with the agent’s thoroughness, not to mention her people skills.
It was about 80 miles (129 km) from the border back down to this confluence and I was able to drive to about ¼ mile (400 meters) from the spot. I climbed over a barbed wire fence and walked the rest of the way to take the photos. This was by far the easiest confluence I’ve visited this trip. I saw a ranch off in the distance about 2.5 miles (4 km) away and drove to it. I stopped at a house and met a ranch hand by the name of Joe Fitzpatrick. I told him about what I was doing and asked if he knew of a shortcut to the next point I wanted to visit. He looked at my map and said there was a way, but it would be much easier and faster for me to head back to Malta and go around over paved roads. He told me the ranch owner, Carrol Ereaux, was home and I drove a little way up the road to his house.
My map indicated that there should be some lakes north of the ranch. Evidently, the area has had very little rain this year because the lakes were all dried up. I saw a pheasant on the side of the road on the way to their house. After I met their dogs, I met Carrol Ereaux and his wife, Jean. They invited me in and I told them all about the Degree Confluence Project. Mr. Ereaux had a map of his land and it appeared that this confluence is on the border of his deeded land and land he leases from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We chatted for a while and he agreed with Joe that it would be extremely difficult to cut straight across to the next confluence. I thanked them for their help and said goodbye.
This visit made 12 successful visits out 14 attempts so far this trip. I departed their ranch and started toward the next confluence on my plan, 48°N 107°W.