the Degree Confluence Project

United States : New Mexico

10.0 miles (16.1 km) N of Mimbres, Grant, NM, USA
Approx. altitude: 1995 m (6545 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 33°S 72°E

Quality: good

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

#2: View looking east toward the Mimbres River #3: View looking north toward the Chevy Blazer #4: View looking west #5: Sandstone walls of the canyon

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  33°N 108°W (visit #1)  

#1: View looking south

(visited by John Kejr, Chris Kejr and Donald Kejr)

23-Dec-2000 -- The Mimbres River Confluence.

For my second confluence, I decided to bring my dad along who is also a map and gadget nut like me. I figured that he would think that this hunt would be a fun activity while we were down visiting for Christmas. My wife Chris also went along for the ride. Although she doesn't get this whole confluence thing, any excuse to get out in the country and takes some pictures satisfies her. With the closest confluence to my parents house just 18 miles away as the crow flies, this team of three set out to conquer 33N 108W -- me the driver, Dad the navigator, and Chris the photographer.

A glorious morning with blue skies and warm temperatures greeted us as we headed east on New Mexico Highway 152 from Silver City, past the huge open-pit copper mine at Santa Rita, then down into the Mimbres valley. Here, we turned north on state highway 35 and followed the Mimbres River upstream. At this point the valley contained a scenic mix of apple orchards and ranches in the bottomlands, surrounded by pine, oak and juniper covered hillsides. Cook Peak's Matterhorn-shaped summit rose behind us to the southeast. As we traveled north, passing the 20-house town of Mimbres, ranches replaced the orchards, and ponderosa pine joined the oak, juniper, and pinon pine that we saw at lower elevations. The Mimbres Valley is also well known for the prehistoric Mimbres Indian culture that created intricate designs on their beautiful black and white pottery.

From the maps, Dad knew that the we were to leave the highway at the well-signed junction of McKnight Road to the right, north of Mimbres somewhere near mile marker 12. We exited the black top at that point. Four roads immediately converged there near some houses built next to some interesting sandstone formations. The maps showed that the confluence was upstream about 4 miles along the North Fork of the Mimbres River and that a 4-wheel drive road basically followed to river all of the way to our destination. We immediately chose the wrong road and started up a hill, realized our mistake, and returned to the correct one.

"Road" is a relative term. The rocks and ruts on this stretch would definitely kill anything other than a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately, my Chevy Blazer was up to the task. Although the maps showed that the road followed the river, in many spots, the road was the river. Like most tree-lined streams in the Southwest, the Mimbres flows intermittently, except during flash floods when it becomes a raging torrent. Some spots had flowing water babbling on the surface for a while, only to sink underground and resurface later. It was clear that flash floods had carried large rocks into the trail and washed out other portions, but it was still passable at slow speeds. High water or mud immediately after rain or snow would make this route impassable during less ideal weather.

We headed up the road/river admiring the shallow pink sandstone cliffs lining this canyon and their interesting shadows cast by the warm early winter sun. We passed through an unlocked green metal gate at 3.31 miles from the confluence and entered some ranch land.

At 1.99 miles away, we startled a flock of wild turkeys -- our first wildlife sighting of the trip. Chris excitedly reached for her camera, but alas, they were gone before she could get the picture. She now resolved to keep the camera ready and loaded for any future wildlife sightings. This paid off later in the trip.

Disappointed at missing a picture of the turkeys, we continued on past a windmill at 1.91 miles. Our speed did not exceed a couple of miles per hour since the route was quite rocky crossing the river many times. We crossed an unlocked barbed wire gate .91 miles from the confluence and took the left branch of a fork back toward the river watching the GPS count off the distance. The route crossed the river, followed it for a while, then continued straight to about 50 feet from the confluence point. After slightly overshooting it we got out to find "the spot."

As I would read the GPS and say things like "30 feet to the southeast," Dad would race ahead to try to get to the confluence before I did. Chris laughed as we repeated this routine until we honed in on location and eventually nailed it. We found it in a patch of ponderosa pine and juniper that really block the incredible scenery that surrounds this spot. We took our pictures, Chris and I kissed on the confluence and we were ready for the return trip knowing that we had claimed it.

The wild turkeys apparently thought that we would never make it back, so they returned from their hiding places. About 15 of these large dark birds watched us from the hillside. Chris got out of the car and immediately began snapping pictures of them. They made her trip to the confluence worthwhile.

As we returned to the blacktop, a red fox provided our final wildlife sighting for the trip. He posed in the sunlight for a picture. Fortunately for the turkeys, he was a couple of miles from where we sighted them so they were not destined to become Christmas dinner for a family of foxes.

Accessibility = 3 (moderately difficult) 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle required. Otherwise a 4 mile hike is required. Not passable after heavy rain due to high water or mud. Gates were unlocked at our visit, but may be closed in the future.
Terrain = 3 (rough)
Scenery = A. (Much more scenic that the pictures would lead you to believe.)

 All pictures
#1: View looking south
#2: View looking east toward the Mimbres River
#3: View looking north toward the Chevy Blazer
#4: View looking west
#5: Sandstone walls of the canyon
#6: Wild turkeys and a red fox
ALL: All pictures on one page