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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : South Dakota

8.4 miles (13.5 km) W of Deerfield, Pennington, SD, USA
Approx. altitude: 2062 m (6765 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 44°S 76°E

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

#2: View North #3: View East #4: View South #5: View West #6: All zeros! #7: My car's smashed fender, after hitting a deer after leaving the confluence point.

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  44°N 104°W (visit #2)  

#1: The confluence point lies in this open patch of forest.  (There's also a geocache under the wooden cairn.)

(visited by Ross Finlayson)

22-May-2011 -- Visiting this point was a bit of an adventure. While driving around the Black Hills of South Dakota on a soggy Spring afternoon, I stopped at Jewel Cave National Monument, but found that there were no more tours of the cave that day. My next planned stop was Devil's Tower National Monument, in nearby Wyoming - but I realized that there was a confluence point en route - in a remote region of the Black Hills. Satellite imagery - plus the report from the lone previous visit (10 years ago) - suggested that the confluence point lay very close to a forest road. So, having some extra time available, I decided it was worth a visit.

The big problem, however, is that this area has had a very wet spring, with lots of rain (often torrential) having fallen in the past few days (with light rain still falling even as I drove). Also, the confluence point is at altitude (more than 6000 feet), and there were still patches of snow on the roads as I got close to the confluence point. Even with 4-wheel-drive, my SUV was slipping around a lot (often engaging its automatic stability control) as I climbed up the soggy, muddy forest roads. I'm still feeling a bit traumatized after having gotten stuck in a (not so) dry lake bed at [40,-116] in Nevada two years ago, so I was nervous about whether or not I'd be able to make it to the point (and back). Fortunately, though, I was able to drive as far as a downed tree, just 0.2 miles from the confluence point, and then slowly drive back down again afterwards.

Walking to the confluence point was easy: I first stepped over a barbed-wire fence, then walked the remaining 0.15 miles or so through the forest to the point, which lies in an open area of the forest, on a plateau. Even in late May, the temperature was only in the mid 40s F, and several patches of snow were still present.

Given that I was only the second recorded visitor to this confluence point (on this web site), I was surprised to see that there was a geocache at the point (underneath a wooden cairn). The geocache's log book showed several visitors in the last few years. I left a note in the log book noting our web site - "http://www.confluence.org". I encourage anyone else who visits a confluence point with a geocache to do the same.

My adventure wasn't over, however. After leaving the confluence point, I was driving towards Devil's Tower, Wyoming, when I hit a deer that suddenly ran into the road in front of my car. It was just a glancing blow, but my left front fender got mangled. Despite this accident, I'll be able to continue my round-the-US trip as normal, though (and, I hope, visit still more confluence points).


 All pictures
#1: The confluence point lies in this open patch of forest. (There's also a geocache under the wooden cairn.)
#2: View North
#3: View East
#4: View South
#5: View West
#6: All zeros!
#7: My car's smashed fender, after hitting a deer after leaving the confluence point.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)