31-Aug-2002 -- My first-ever confluence search took place on August 31, 2002. I noticed that most confluences in the southern half of Saskatchewan had already been done, so I wasn’t sure which one I should attempt. I finally decided to try 49N-106W, which meant that it would be located on or near the Saskatchewan/Montana border. In the back of my mind, I wondered why no one had attempted 49N-106W.
I first used Mapquest to give me a general idea where the confluence point would be. I also tried checking out the site using a aerial photograph from MSN’s TerraServer. The limitation to these photographs is that they don’t really include Canada, but the photograph did just happen to extend about 100 yards into Canada before it was cut off . I also referred to rural municipality maps to get an idea of how close I would be able to get my car to the confluence. The map showed the last part of the road as a prairie trail. This worried me a bit.
On the day of my adventure, I made my way from Regina to Rockglen. I headed out of Rockglen and found the road I was looking for. The road actually started off as pavement, which quite surprised me. After a few km’s, it turned into a grid road like I expected. At about half-way to the 49th parallel, I came across another grid road running east and west. I decided to try this road to see how close I could get to 106W and hope that there was a nearby road running south to the border. After driving a few more km’s, I came the point where I crossed 106W, but there was no sign of a road running south. I decided to backtrack to the road I was originally on and continue south. After driving for about 9 km towards 49N, the road ahead turned into more of a trail (which I guess was the prairie trail). I decided not to drive my car on this trail as the grass was very high and I knew that the 49th parallel was very close. I walked up this trail until I came upon the border, which was marked by a barbed wire fence. The GPS was reading 49N00.000 and 105W56.767.
Even though I realized that travelling from 105W56.767 to 106W00.000 would involve a lengthy walk, I hoped it wouldn’t be too far. I guess I was in denial. I headed off west making sure I stayed close to the fence so as not to disturb the nearby planted field. After climbing a couple of hills, I got myself back alongside the fence and noticed that the U.S. side of the border had a gravel road running alongside it. The fact that a road was actually running along side border close to where I had to walk, was both funny and a little depressing. I thought about how easy it would have been to drive to the confluence on that road from the Montana side of the border. The fact the confluence is located on the Canadian side ruled this option out, since I would have had to illegally cross the border on foot to get back onto Canadian soil.
It seemed like I walked forever. I was accompanied on my walk by grasshoppers, grasshoppers, and more grasshoppers. Each step produced a flurry of activity as the hoppers jumped in all directions to get out of my way. For anyone who has never experienced grasshoppers, they are large, hard-shelled insects that like to fly up in your face when you least expect it.
I came across two different border survey markers along the way. In the distance I noticed a huge tree* located on the U.S. side. I wondered if for some weird reason that tree marked the confluence point. As I approached the tree and glanced at the GPS, I soon realized that this tree did not mark the spot and I had still had a long way to go. I also noticed on the U.S. side, a farm was visible in the distance. I wondered if anyone lived there, and I also wondered what someone might think if they drove down the road and saw me wandering along the Canadian side of the border.
After walking alongside a field that was covered with round bales, the GPS finally showed 106W. I had to walk a bit to the north to get the GPS to show the correct confluence point. Being my first confluence attempt I didn’t want to mess it up, so I took about 6 pictures of the GPS to make sure I had at least one that turned out. I then proceeded to take the obligatory south, west, north and east pictures from the confluence point. I also used the self-timer on the camera to take a picture a of myself at the confluence point. I checked the clock and realized that it had taken me nearly an hour to walk from the car to the confluence.
After taking a few more pictures I headed back to the car. I was able to shorten the walk back to the car by nearly 15 minutes. I think this was due to the fact that I was very hungry and I knew that I had a large sandwich in the trunk of my car.
*Note about the tree in the story: After getting back home, I went back and looked at that aerial photo of the area to see if I could recognize the area. Even though Canada is not featured on this web site, I was still able to see enough in the photograph to recognize the surrounding area. The road, farm, and tree were all visible in the picture. Before visiting the area, I never would have realized that the strange mark on the east side of the photograph was actually a very large tree.
Coordinator's Note: the righthand 'cross' shown on the aerial photo, above and to the right
of the road intersection, marks the confluence location.