17-Sep-2017 -- As I was in the area for the North Dakota GIS conference, and as the focus of the conference was the use of Geographic Information Systems in all sectors of society, and as my keynote address would touch on field data collection, mapping, and understanding the world, I thought that a confluence visit would be the most fitting way to start my days in the state. After arriving at the airport, I visited 47 North 100 West in early afternoon. Setting off from this point, I drove to Steele, North Dakota, west on I-94 to US Highway 83, then south on 83 to State Highway 11. As I drove east to Hague, a light rain was falling. Would the weather hold? I then turned south on 18th Avenue SE, a section line road. I was reasonably hopeful that I would be able to successfully visit this point, but one never knows for sure until one is actually on site.
I drove south several miles to 98th St SE and parked at the intersection. One of the few tall trees in the area is located just east of here. It was a scenic spot. I saw no one, and no animals either; just a few birds. I set off walking to the east, on a trail dividing the field to the south from the one to the north. I was newly invigorated despite my 2.5 hour hike earlier in the day to 47 North 100 West, where it was much more sunny and windy. The day had become still and darker. In less than 20 minutes, I arrived at my destination. The trail was flat. At 100 West, I went through a mass of weeds about 25 paces to the north. After emerging from the weeds, I made care not to step on the soybeans growing there.
I reached the point in late afternoon local time. With no trees, it was easy to zero out the GPS receiver. The point lies on flat ground, maybe sloping ever so slightly to the northwest. The ground cover is in soybeans at the time of my visit. I was treated to an amazing sky filled with some virga and also some rays of sun peeking through clouds. It was one of the most beautiful scenes I have witnessed at a confluence point. The temperature stood at a rather pleasant 61 F; this time of year was about the best time to be out here; because this part of the continent can be blazing hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. I have experienced both extremes on my past treks to this wonderful state. As I expected, it was moderately breezy, but certainly not as windy as it had been earlier that day at 47 North 100 West. I always love being at a confluence point, especially one as important as 100 degrees west. I filmed several videos here and posted them on my video channel geographyuberalles.
I now have amassed about 7 points in North Dakota stretching back to 2002; before today, it had been 3 years since my last point in the state, and it was great to be back. Not many people have stood on this point; besides the local ranchers and farmers, of course. That was amazing, because it was really one of the easiest confluence points of my entire career of 15 years. After seeing so much urban sprawl of late, it was wonderful to be in an area of such low population density. I could see only a few houses in the distance from the point. I had stood on 46 North many times from Washington on the west to New Brunswick in Canada on the east. I had also stood on 100 West many times, from North Dakota at 47 North down to Texas on the south, at 30 North.
I walked back out the way I had come in. Then, my adventure continued: I drove north to Hague, where I walked around the magnificent Catholic Church there, built in 1929--it was locked, but even the outside was grand and well maintained, and looked around the town, including a yard with five huge rottweilers in it, to which I gave a wide berth, and the large grain elevators on the north end. After that, I walked around the east side of a lake a few miles west of Hague along US Highway 83 and took some lovely photos of the sun setting behind enormous dead and flooded trees, some of which had a bird perched in every branch. Then I drove back to Bismarck to make final preparations on my presentations for this week's workshops. It was truly a great way to begin the trip!