25-Sep-2004 -- Driving on a lake!
We decided to get to 40n-116w by using a different approach and method than the previous two visitors. We simply drove to it!
Along the way to this confluence, we took a side trip and successfully reached geodash point GD39-ALAD located on the Pony Express Trail - Cool! Nearby, we saw a small herd of about 10 Pronghorn antelope that were determined to not let us get close enough for a good picture.
Proceeding up the well maintained gravel Sadler Brown Road, we passed the Siri Ranch and its gate right next to the road displaying an ominous “No Trespassing” sign. The 1:24,000 scale TOPO map on my laptop computer showed a dirt road leading onto the lakebed about three miles further north.
At N40 03.088 W116 00.708, we turned east onto this road and were soon on the dry lakebed. With GPS GOTO arrows pointing straight ahead, we were rapidly counting down the distance remaining to the confluence. Driving sure beats hiking!
A review of the previous two visits had led us to believe that this confluence could be the most challenging and time consuming of our planned trek – especially if we had to hike it. Luckily, the lakebed was hard and dry making travel in any direction quite easy. We had all zeros when we stopped and we weren’t even out of the car yet!
Sam was very curious to see if the stake and footprints described by Jack Frickey were still there. We found no evidence of where the stake had been positioned. We did see some vehicle tracks that seemed to make a u-turn within 50m of the confluence. These were probably made sometime after the last rains, perhaps only a few months ago.
Picture #1 shows the confluence area and general texture of the lakebed. Picture #2 looks north up Diamond Valley and across the alkali flat. Picture #3 looks east towards the Diamond Mountains. Picture #4 looks south down the valley. Picture #5 looks back south towards the Sulphur Spring Mountains. Picture #6 shows a total of twenty-two zeroes on our two GPS units at the confluence! Your visual perspective definitely changes on a featureless lakebed. Picture #7 shows the lakebed with a vehicle for scale.
We decided to see if exiting to the east would be just as easy as entering from the west. My computer showed a road leading west onto the lakebed from Davis Canyon. I pointed the Tahoe’s nose towards the canyon and we eventually intercepted the road eastbound after driving through some scrub brush.
This way was clearly not as defined or easy as the approach from the west. It was also much bumpier but still could still be accomplished with a high clearance 2wd vehicle. We had to pass through two gates before we were finally able to turn south onto CR-101 at N40 01.528 W115 53.739.
That made three successful confluences in fewer than twelve hours! Finding ourselves a few hours ahead of schedule, we continued south towards our next destination at 39°N 116°W