06-Apr-2003 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer at the US Geological Survey
in Denver Colorado USA, visited latitude 38 North, longitude 113 West at the southwestern side of the Colorado Plateau. I had been teaching GPS and Geographic Information Systems at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado, and thought the perfect followup to this workshop would be a confluence visit. The Colorado Plateau is a landform covering parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The Plateau encompasses a wide
variety of magnificent canyons, mountains, and mesas, and is a wonderful place to visit during any season. The terrain in this part of the plateau in Utah is comprised of
mountains, mesas, cuestas, and broad valleys. The confluence lies at the northern end of the valley that Cedar City occupies at its southern end. The terrain slopes gently downhill to the south.
I exited Interstate Highway 15 at Beaver, Utah, driving west on Utah State Highway 21 past ranches to Minersville, turning south on State Highway 130. After passing through the Black Mountains, I drove down a slope named "Long Hollow" toward Cedar City. Not finding a convenient pull-out, and noting the softness of the local earth that might trap a passenger car, I parked approximately 2 kilometers to the north of the confluence at 1245pm local time. I hiked down the state highway for approximately 30 minutes and then walked due west among the sage to the confluence. No visitor to this region can fail to be impressed by the omnipresence of big sagebrush, a hardy, cold-tolerant shrub that shapes the ecosystems it dominates. It exists in many places on this side of the Colorado Plateau. The earth was like powder between the sage plants and made for an easy, pleasant hike. Some sage plants are approximately 80 cm high here. Snow falling on the nearby mountains and clouds whirling about made for a brisk April afternoon, approximately 50 degrees F.
I arrived at the confluence at approximately 120pm local time. The confluence lies 100 meters to the west of the highway. I found the rock cairns left by the two other visitors that were approximately 3 meters apart. My GPS unit together with the satellite configuration of the day and hour indicated that the confluence lay about midway between the two rock cairns. I spotted a hawk but no other wildlife, although I did keep a watchful eye for rattlesnakes. During my return to the vehicle, a friendly Utah citizen stopped and asked me if I needed a lift. I declined, choosing instead to enjoy for the duration of the hike the wide open spaces of this part of the Colorado Plateau.