the Degree Confluence Project

United States : New Mexico

3.7 miles (6.0 km) SW of Crystal (San Juan), McKinley, NM, USA
Approx. altitude: 2253 m (7391 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 36°S 71°E

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: The spot - looking south #3: Checking the road ahead #4: Along Rt 12 coming from I-40 #5: GPS

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  36°N 109°W (visit #1)  

#1: Looking north

(visited by Uwe Luettringhaus and Srisuda Luettringhaus)

23-Dec-2001 -- Planning a trip along I-40 to New Mexico I noticed that this confluence had not been visited or attempted. A quick check of the topo maps and satellite pictures showed that it is actually located within a mile of Hwy 134. About 0.1 miles from the confluence a faint dirt track was visible on the satellite picture. There were no cliffs, gorges, rivers or any other natural obstructions in the way, so I started to wonder what might be 'wrong' with this confluence. It seemed so easy. Why was there no attempt filed yet when all the neighboring confluences had at least one attempt? As far as I could tell there was no reason not to try this one and so we included it in the planning for our trip.

We spent a night in Holbrook, AZ. It was obviously off-season; all the motels were running specials and the parking lots were empty. This area of the southwest is much more popular in the warmer month of the year with Petrified Forest National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument and even the Grand Canyon within half a day's drive. From Holbrook we took I-40 east to Indian Route 12 at which point we were about 50 miles due south of the confluence. Route 12 took us via Window Rock north to Hwy 134 deep inside the Navajo Indian Reservation. Along the way there were fences on both sides of the road...Not a good sign for confluence hunters.

We turned onto Hwy 134 and watched the distance to the confluence on the GoTo screen of the GPS steadily decrease as we were driving. At the closest point of the road to the confluence we found a cattle guard and the big dirt road I had seen on the satellite picture. It turned out the road was somebody's driveway! There was smoke coming out of the chimney of the house straight ahead, so we decided to find out if we could get permission to visit the confluence. With landowner letter in hand I approached the house. The kids playing in the snow in the front yard got their mother and I tried to explain the reason for our visit to this part of the country. She told me that her family did not own the land, that it was 'open land' and that we could just go and take our pictures. She then pointed out some dirt roads that might take us a little closer, but warned us to be careful with the snow on these roads.

We were only about .5 miles from the confluence, i.e, we could have just parked and walked, but we decided to try to get a little closer by car. There were no tracks in the snow, but the snow was not very deep. We ended up parking about 0.3 miles from the confluence. As the pictures show the spot itself lies at the edge of a depression which is surrounded by hills covered with trees. There were some kind of foot prints in the snow around the confluence. Since they were not that fresh it was hard to identify them, but they appeared to be mostly cow/horse/elk(?). It is not a very scenic spot, but the drive up from I-40 was quite nice (see picture of sandstone cliff). We left the area heading north-east on Hwy 134. This took us through the Chuska Mountains over Washington pass. As we were driving down from the pass on the east side of the mountains we got some nice views of Shiprock (basalt core of an old volcano) in northern New Mexico and the snow covered San Juan Mountains (14,000+ft) in southern Colorado. Hwy 666 took us back south to I-40. This scenic excursion with the little confluence walk added about 2.5 hours to the trip.

 All pictures
#1: Looking north
#2: The spot - looking south
#3: Checking the road ahead
#4: Along Rt 12 coming from I-40
#5: GPS
ALL: All pictures on one page
In the Navajo Indian Reservation.