18-Oct-2004 -- Many people around the world, and even many people in the western USA, have the image of Colorado as completely mountainous. They do not realize that fully 1/3 of the state of Colorado lies in the grassland biome, part of the Great Plains that stretch from Texas to Saskatchewan. While they may not be featured as frequently as the mountains to the west on tourist brochures and on postcards, the Great Plains of Colorado is a wonderful place nonetheless. I, Joseph Kerski, selected a perfect autumn day to visit 39 North 103 West, under bright skies, and with the autumn leaves of cottonwoods in river drainages at their height of color. This was the land where the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians once roamed, and wagons full of settlers headed west to seek a new life. One family was my spouse's grandparents, who homesteaded to the south of here in Bent County, Colorado. Not far from the confluence is a community called Firstview, so named because it is here where the settlers were treated to their first view of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains to the west.
I drove southeast from Denver on Interstate Highway 70 to Flagler, then dropping due south on County Roads 5, A, and 9 to a spot just 100 meters to the east of the confluence. Although many fields were lying fallow in this area, the confluence field was newly planted in either alfalfa or wheat. The stalks were approximately 6 cm high. After this short walk, I arrived at the confluence at at 3:20pm local time. The confluence lies on flat ground, but the landscape is very gently rolling. A steady but warm breeze was blowing, and the mild temperature of 22 C (72 F) made me spend at least 20 minutes at the site, enjoying the wide open spaces. It is good to know that not all of Colorado
is being turned over to residences and commerce. One has to admire those farmers and ranchers who remain when most have departed to the Front Range cities of Denver and Colorado Springs. To the south was one of the intermittent gullies lined with cottonwood trees, but the only other trees were those planted as windbreaks around the farmhouses in the region. These can be seen in the
photographs, as the visibility was excellent during this autumn afternoon. The farthest view was to the south-southeast.
I had been to 39 North several times, in Colorado and in Kansas. I had also visited 103 West several times, in Colorado, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Each was on the Great Plains, but each has a unique character. After taking a movie and the photographs, I departed, thankful for the opportunity to visit.