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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : California

32.8 miles (52.8 km) SW of Death Valley, Inyo, CA, USA
Approx. altitude: 1234 m (4048 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 63°E

Accuracy: 4 m (13 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: GPS display showing confluence in relation to where I parked my truck. #3: All zeroes. :-) #4: Like I said I was not the first one here... #5: Looking back to the south and my wife René. #6: My wife is supportive of my little hobbies.  :-)

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  36°N 117°W (visit #2)  

#1: Picture of the confluence taken from SE.  The creosote bush in center foreground marks it pretty well.

(visited by Richard Smith)

29-Dec-2002 -- Almost three years to the day after Ross Finlayson's initial visit to 36°N 117°W, my wife and I decided to pay a visit to this confluence as part of our annual retreat to Death Valley National Park. This is one of two confluences that lie within the official boundaries of the park, the other one being 37°N 117°W.

As Ross mentioned in his report, the confluence lies in the Panamint mountains about 1 mile north of Warm Spring Canyon Road where it crosses 117°W longitude. It's about 15 miles west from the West Side Road and is an easy trail for a 4WD vehicle, or even a 2WD with good ground clearance. The road is well-graded for the first ten miles and rocky for the last five. The trail north for the last mile requires a modest degree of technical 4WD skill.

My wife René and I started out around noon with the intention of getting some good late-afternoon pictures. The drive was easy and quite beautiful as expected. What we weren't prepared for was what a fascinating section of the park this is. The Panamints are quite rich in natural beauty as well as California history. As we drove along we saw mines that have probably been worked since the days of the 49'ers and the famous 20 Mule Teams, and some of them are still being worked today. Although most people think of gold and silver when they think of mining, the honest truth is that unglamorous substances like talc seem to draw the most attention these days.

Since we took our time and did some sightseeing, it was around 3:30 PM when we got to the intersection of Warm Spring Canyon Road and 117°W. I had my wife get out and do some spotting for me, then proceeded north for 3/4 of a mile in my truck. I picked a spot about 1/4 mile away from the confluence to park and after a five-minute hike I was there! However it wasn't a total cakewalk due to the upward slope of the land in this area, which forms a sort of plateau that is not visible from the road and feels quite remote once you get there. It would have been an excellent site for wilderness camping if we had come equipped for that.

Even though this is the first visit reported to the DCP since selective availability was turned off in May 2000, to my surprise there were at least two small rock "sculptures" quite close to the confluence point so it was obvious that this location was of interest to people even if they hadn't heard of it through the DCP web site.

Although it was nice to get late-afternoon pictures of the confluence, I found myself regretting that we hadn't started earlier. Instead of turning back we could have continued on to the Striped Butte and perhaps gone all the way into Panamint Valley through Ballarat via Goler Wash, which is the only 4WD route across the southern Panamints that remains open at present due to closures by the NPS and BLM in response to pressures from environmentalists and private land owners.

A few notes about the equipment I used. As always my Garmin Etrex Vista was excellent. I fashioned a primitive dashboard mount using Garmin's bicycle handlebar mount, the advantage being that it's bolted to the dash and therefore vibration-proof (this is important for off-road use). My camera is a Canon EOS D30 which I've had for two years now, and even though it's not the "latest and greatest" anymore, I still think this is one of the best digital cameras for outdoor use due to its outstanding image quality and above-average battery life. And of course my 2000 Toyota Tacoma acquitted itself with no trouble at all.

Please visit my web site www.rssnet.org for more information about my adventures with René, including detailed trip reports and more pictures.


 All pictures
#1: Picture of the confluence taken from SE. The creosote bush in center foreground marks it pretty well.
#2: GPS display showing confluence in relation to where I parked my truck.
#3: All zeroes. :-)
#4: Like I said I was not the first one here...
#5: Looking back to the south and my wife René.
#6: My wife is supportive of my little hobbies. :-)
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In the Death Valley National Park.