06-Sep-2015 -- I was in some serious confluence withdrawal with my last visited point some four months before, and was looking forward to what has become my annual day or two out in the field solely to visit confluence points. This year, the only time available was Labor Day weekend, a holiday in the USA, and even though the traffic would be heavier, the weekend was nigh to embark. Yesterday I visited 4 points along 106 West longitude from 39 North to 36 North. Today I visited 3 points along that same longitude, from 35 North to 33 North, and now was driving north after visiting 33 North 107 West. Therefore, I had visited 4 points already today... could I make it to point number 5 before sundown?
I drove north on I-25, eyeing a massive rainstorm to my left, to the west of the highway. This seemed unfortunate at the time because that is where I knew the confluence point would be. But little did I know that it would make for some magnificent photographs later. The rain began falling and the clouds were still present as I entered Socorro about 5:00pm. Would the daylight last? I drove west along US Highway 60, a stretch of road that was new to me, and I discovered a geologic formation called "The Box" which was a narrow canyon just off the road. I turned south along a muddy one lane road, Torreon Springs Road, toward "The Box" and vowing to visit it after the confluence run. I drove past the formation toward a ranch, but not wanting to disturb the folks there, turned around and parked near the turnoff to the geologic formation and the area where a few people were camping. I gathered supplies and set off to the west. The rain was still falling but abating and lighter skies appeared to the west, casting the whole area with a beautiful glow, particularly lovely with the wet rocks glistening. These same rocks made the terrain slippery, but in about 25 minutes, I arrived at the confluence point.
The confluence lies on land sloping steeply to the north. Therefore, the view to the south was the most limited. To the west the sun was making an appearance, and I could see the top of "The Box" to the east. It was just before sundown in late summer--early September--a magnificent time to be outside in New Mexico. It was about 70 F and surprisingly humid after the rainstorm. Fortunately it was not windy. A few wildflowers were still growing but the terrain was mostly short grasses and rocks. I had visited 34 North numerous times in the past, from California on the west to North Carolina on the east. My treks to 107 West had been fewer--from Wyoming on the north to just one degree south of here in New Mexico. It was wonderful to be at this point, which is one the most beautiful points I have ever visited in my 300+ point journeys spanning nearly 15 years. It is not far from a town, Socorro, but seemed a world apart. Given my goals of driving a few hundred miles before sleeping this evening, I spent only 20 or so minutes at the site. I saw no or animals, and no birds.
I hiked back the way I had come in, reluctant to leave as it was my last confluence of the day. It was my 5th confluence today and my 9th in the past two days. But I still had some energy left and had no problems hiking out. I walked to "The Box" and took a few photographs. I considered camping there but that would make tomorrow too long of a drive. Therefore, I drove back to Socorro and unfortunately I was in too much of a focus to stop and take some photographs there. But, just like last evening when I was hiking at 36 North 106 West, a magnificent sunset appeared. The pink hues were especially lovely, heightened by the rain falling in front of the sun's rays to the west. I drove through Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and I did not stop until I reached Las Vegas, Nevada, whereupon I spent my first night sleeping in a car in a Walmart parking lot, arriving at 10:00pm or so.
This was one of my favorite days of 2015. I had some great moments at this site and at the other four points I visited today. Get out there and explore the world!