the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Idaho

20.1 miles (32.4 km) WNW of Mackay, Custer, ID, USA
Approx. altitude: 2071 m (6794 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 44°S 66°E

Quality: good

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

#2: East and west Views #3: Pickles' Place in Arco, Idaho #4: Danny Strickland #5: Graduation years painted on mountain in Arco, Idaho #6: The Spot

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  44°N 114°W (visit #1)  

#1: North and south Views

(visited by Danny Strickland)

04-Mar-2001 -- I'm on vacation in Eastern Idaho visiting a friend and taking photographs. I woke up this morning just in time to see the sun rising over the majestic Grand Teton Mountains. What a way to start the day. After deciding where I wanted to go today, I hit the road heading west across the desert. My first stop was the Craters of the Moon near Arco, Idaho - - about 2 hours away.

A volcanic explosion that left a moon-like landscape formed the Craters. The lava is black and I thought there would be some good photographs with snow on it. I just didn't count on there being so much snow covering the lava. There's a 7-mile drive-through loop around the area, but it was closed due to the snow. I got out and walked about half a mile and snapped off a few photos. I got back in the car and drove back into Arco. There's a historic sign in Arco that reads:" ATOMS FOR PEACE - An important page in atomic history was written here on July 17, 1955 when the lights of Arco were successfully powered from atomic energy. Chosen by the Atomic Energy Commission as an experiment in the peaceful use of atomic power, Arco, Idaho became the first town in the free world to be served by electrical energy developed from the atom. The energy for this experiment was produced at the National Reactor Testing Station in the Arco desert southeast of here."

Giant numbers are painted on the mountainside above Arco. Graduating high school classes go up there each year and paint their numbers on the mountain. It looks like they've been doing this since the 20's and they're running out of room. I was getting hungry and I stopped to eat at Pickle's Place - Home of the Atomic Burger. With a name like that, I had to stop there. I figured it would be a sin if I didn't eat the Atomic Burger, so I did. Let me tell you - that was a powerful burger.

I left Arco and headed northwest toward the confluence about an hour and a half away. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful landscape. Everywhere was snow covered fields and mountains. The sky was blue and the clouds were just the right amount to make the landscapes picture perfect. I stopped numerous times to take photos. Even though I'm shooting all black and whites with my film camera, I found myself smiling a lot at how pretty I know they're going to be if I even halfway captured what I was seeing. I was completely blown away by it all.

As I approached the confluence, the driving got a little treacherous due to snowdrifts across the roads. But I took it easy and made it within 1/3 of a mile and parked. I had to hike through desert scrub with about 8 inches of snow on the ground. That wasn't too hard. Then came THE HILL. I don't know how high THE HILL was, but suffice it to say that I had to stop several times to catch my breath. When I got to the top I was hit by a hard, chilling wind, but I only noticed that briefly because the view up there was spectacular. I was completely surrounded by mountains with rough, jagged peaks. It was unlike anything I could have imagined and there was no sign of civilization - - until I noticed the footprints.

There were footprints (human and dog) heading straight towards the confluence. Looks like I wasn't the first one to visit this point. When I checked the website last night it hadn't been visited yet and I didn't see it on the pending list. I proceeded to the spot and took the photos. The footprints went on past the point. Maybe it was just someone out hiking, although I doubt it because this place is so remote. Either way, I don't mind. It was worth the effort just to experience nature's beauty and magnificence. That's what I like about doing this. It takes you places you would never go otherwise.

Danny Strickland

 All pictures
#1: North and south Views
#2: East and west Views
#3: Pickles' Place in Arco, Idaho
#4: Danny Strickland
#5: Graduation years painted on mountain in Arco, Idaho
#6: The Spot
ALL: All pictures on one page