28-May-2023 -- After over 20 years and over 400 confluence visits, another opportunity had come: It had been two years since I had the opportunity to take a multi day trip just for collecting confluence points, seeing the landscape, and meeting local people. My goal was to connect a large block of my Minnesota points to another large block of points south and west of there, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. To fill those gaps would require some planning but could be quite fun and doable. Thus after flying to Sioux Falls two days earlier and visiting 3 points, then 5 points yesterday, and 3 points today, I still had plenty of energy for more fieldwork.
And thus, after visiting 45 North 96 West an hour and a half ago, it was time to head north, to 46 North 96 West. From that windy cemetery, I headed west, then north on State Highway 40. I continued north on State 119, crossed the Minnesota River, went through Appleton and Holloway, and onto US Highway 59. After the towns of Morris and Barrett, it was northwest into the lovely town of Elbow Lake. At the county courthouse, I turned left, and once more traveled northwest to the edge of town, and back south on a gravel north-south road. I parked on the road and walked west on the long driveway to the landowner's home.
Fortunately, the landowners were home and friendly, and we had a nice chat as I asked them to accompany me to the point which I knew would lie just north of the driveway, in the adjacent field. Promising that I would not step on any of their newly planted corn, I gingerly bent to the north to capture all zeroes. The sun was lowering in the west and it was a beautiful time of day and year in Minnesota. What's also interesting is that this property backs up to THE Elbow Lake, to the west, which is what the nearby town is named for. The point lies on flat ground and the best view is off to the northeast. The temperature stood at about 83 F or 28 C; very pleasant. I saw no animals or birds and no people besides the landowners, and I was very grateful for their hospitality.
I have visited 46° north on the West Coast of United States over in Oregon at 123 West across a line containing many points all the way to the Maritime Provinces of Canada at 65 West Longitude in a forest in New Brunswick. Each of these points at 46 North that I have visited, and it has to be at least 12 of them, are unique and wonderful. These include a very cold trek into a field near the North Dakota-South Dakota border, and a lonely spot near some cattle in Montana. I have also visited 96° west several times in the past from this point on the north end of that line, on down to Texas on the south end, not too far from the Gulf of Mexico, in someone's backyard. It was amazing that I was the first visitor here in over 20 years.
I took my photos, avoiding taking one of the landowner's home, and filmed the following video, in which you can see my Lost? Study Geography - shirt and hear the wind on the Great Plains: 46 North 96 West
Upon departing, I bade the folks farewell and walked due east with my own long shadow in front of me. It was my favorite time of day and I did not want to leave, but in my quest to find a campground before it got dark, I exited the local grounds. I drove southeast back into town and then due east from there, found a camping spot, Tipsinah Mounds.
With many surrounding lakes, it was very dense with mosquitos but lovely nonetheless. Today had been a great day of 4 confluence points across two states and I was glad to be here. This evening's camping turned out to be the best campground of the 3 I had visited on this trip. It was the last one, and the best!
When the trip was all said and done, here are the final statistics:
Confluence points attempted: 15.
Confluence points successfully visited: 15.
Points where I met the local landowner = 4 of 15 points.
Miles = 1731, Kilometers = 2785.
Campgrounds = 3.
Windy confluence points: 6 of 15.
Beautiful confluence points: 15 of 15.
Kwik Trip convenience store stops = 5. Casey's = 1. Circle K = 1. Flying J = 1.
Points along 43 North 4
44 North 3
45 North 4
46 North 1
47 North 3
Points visited on Day 1 = 3
Day 2 = 5
Day 3 = 4
Day 4 = 3
Points visited in the morning = 5
afternoon = 7
evening = 3
Points visited in Minnesota = 6
North Dakota = 2
Wisconsin = 3
Iowa = 4
Get out there and explore!