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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Washington

3.8 miles (6.1 km) N of Vantage (Kittitas), Grant, WA, USA
Approx. altitude: 174 m (570 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 47°S 60°E

Accuracy: 691 m (755 yd)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: The Wild Horses Monument near Vantage, WA. (West) #3: The I-90 Bridge across the Columbia River, just west of Vantage. (South) #4: Crumpled cars in the gorge at George, WA. #5: My GPS, c. 2800 ft from the confluence, at the boat launch on the Columbia.

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  47°N 120°W (visit #1) (incomplete) 

#1: Looking west towards the confluence (which is halfway across the river).

(visited by Mike Blaszczak)

13-Nov-1999 -- Well, I started out a little late. We went out the night before, and I wanted to sleep in. So, I did.

That was something of a mistake. I meant to find two confluences today, and just bolted from the house with my bag of junk without really thinking about it much. I drove out I-90 without checking a map as I left, and didn't realize quite how far away Vantage was. In fact, I drove past the confluence near Cle Elum (at 47N 121W) without even considering stopping there!

I-90 snakes its way over the Cascade Mountain Range, which divide Washington State east and west. The west side of the mountains are only about a quarter of the area of the state, while the East side makes up the rest. The mountains hang-up all the moist air from the ocean and cause all of the stalled fronts that bring our rain, here. The convergence zone and the chinooks form in the winter, and make everything even wetter.

East of the mountains, the terrain is much flatter. And, accordingly, I-90 is almost as straight as an arrow. Here, the farmers grow almost everything. Alfalfa, potatoes, apples, cherries. Eventually, I-90 crosses the Columbia River. The town of Vantage is on the west shore, and the river runs almost north-and-south at this point. The bridge is really quite long.

On the west end of the bridge, I-90 cuts north and WA-26 goes south and then south east towards Pullman. The interstate has to climb out of the ancient valley carved by the river. About three miles from the end of the bridge, there's a turnoff and a little rest stop for The Wild Horses Monument. You can see the Wild Horses in Photo #2. They're way up there; I fooled with my zoom lens for a while trying to get even tighter shots. That picture is facing uphill from the parking lot.

Facing the other way (south-southwest, say) from the parking lot, I snapped a picture of the highway coming up the hill and the Columbia River. The I-90 bridge spans the mighty river in Photo #3.

I drove back onto I-90 and bailed out at the next exit. That same exit leads to The Gorge campground and ampitheater, so I was familiar with at least the roads immediately around the edge of the highway. I needed to go off on Vantage Road towards the river. Oddly, the road was named Vantage even though it would never get you to Vantage.

There were lots of beautiful vistas and sharp canyons. The terraced land forced lots of waterfalls, too. At one particular spot, I thought it might be possible to pull off the highway and jump to a mesa that was about four feet from the road. I wondered how many drunk campers stumbled out of the campgrounds after the show and fell to their death--or, at least, a few serious injuries. I leaned over the edge and took pictures of the cars broken in the valley below. That's shot #4.

Another mile or so back towards the river, the road ended and there was a boat launch. Right here was 47N, but I couldn't get any closer to the actual confluence because it lay right in the middle of the river. My best reading is 47 degrees, zero minutes flat North by 119 degrees, 59.454 minutes West. That's in picture #5. The confluence was about 2800 feet across the river, just east of the middle. The view I had to the west from the boat launch is in picture #6. Out there, on the other side of the river, was the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park.

From here, the I-90 bridge is almost barely visible. It's less than five miles away, so I pointed my camera North. You can see Vantage Road, which I followed into the boat launch area. There's a brief rock outcropping, and the mighty Columbia flows by me.


 All pictures
#1: Looking west towards the confluence (which is halfway across the river).
#2: The Wild Horses Monument near Vantage, WA. (West)
#3: The I-90 Bridge across the Columbia River, just west of Vantage. (South)
#4: Crumpled cars in the gorge at George, WA.
#5: My GPS, c. 2800 ft from the confluence, at the boat launch on the Columbia.
#6: Looking north towards the river (and Vantage Rd) from the boat ramp
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In Columbia River, about 0.2 mi from the western bank.