20-Nov-2014 -- Supremely easy for its flatness and proximity to a main route but difficult for its remoteness, this was the most driving-intensive of the seven confluences I visited over the past three days. From 37N 109W I traveled east on 160 until Alamosa, where I cut south on 285. This drive took a little less than five hours with construction and stops. I arrived at the Colorado/New Mexico border at 3:30pm and parked at the New Mexico welcome sign (these signs being the closest safe pull-offs). Temperature was 37°F and the GPS showed 0.35 miles to the site.
The confluence lies in the short scrub on the west side of 285 on BLM land. It requires a bit of a challenging tall fence hop to reach, so be prepared for this. There was an itty bitty little cairn (we’re talking four rocks) that I appreciated. Views were outstanding all around, and zeroing out took about two seconds. I think maybe three cars passed during the entire time that it took me to reach and document the site on this darkening Thursday afternoon, two of which stopped for pictures with the Colorful Colorado welcome sign.
After having completed seven confluences in three days with limited daylight, I was very happy but ready to head home. I opted to head east out of Antonito through Mesita and San Luis before cutting north to 160. West of Mesita I stopped for a three mile jog along a neat little grid of perfectly graded dirt roads with no apparent reason for existing (no sign of cattle nor farming), and as I ran and the sun set I saw all around me some of the most gorgeous, expansive vistas I have ever had the privilege to ogle. The clouds looked like the white parts of Clydesdale feet/hooves, upside-down, and they and the mountains caught the pink of the sunset in a way that was simply breathtaking (much of my breath already having been taken from running at altitude, mind you).
On 160 I headed east over La Veta Pass into Walsenburg at which point I caught I-25 all the way back to Fort Collins, arriving home just before 10pm after a long drive interspersed with a few gas stops and a quick make-out session with an M&M Blizzard from a Dairy Queen in Colorado Springs. The past three days of confluence hunting were a fun and spiritual journey, diminished only by the drive time and the lack of a wife or friend to keep me company. Audiobooks of Charles Portis’s Dog of the South and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (appropriately) helped with this. Now, with Colorado winter well on its way, it’s time to hang up my 2014 confluence-hunting hat. Looking forward to seeing what new adventures 2015 may bring!