05-Jun-2015 -- Although this is one of the closest degree confluence points to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had deferred visiting it for a long time, because I was worried about bothering the residents of the nearby farmhouse. However, because I was making a day trip to (re)visit the neighboring point 37N 119W, and my route to get there happened to pass close to this point, I felt that today was the right time to finally visit this point.
Other people had already visited this point 9 times before - but not in the past 8 years. When I reached the dirt driveway - off Island Drive - on which the confluence point lay, I was rather surprised to see that the trees in the orchard were much taller than in the previous visitors’ photos. The trees were large enough that I was barely able to see the farmhouse at the end of the driveway, and so the residents would be unlikely to notice and be bothered by me.
As is often the case, this confluence point tells an interesting story about the local area - in this case, California’s Central Valley. The trees being grown here are almonds. Almonds are a controversial crop here in (currently drought-stricken) California, because they consume a lot of water. However, they’re also a very lucrative crop for farmers, so one can hardly blame them for planting almond trees here. Most of the crops (almonds and otherwise) in this area are watered by groundwater - but the groundwater table is sinking and getting depleted. In fact, just across Island Drive from the dirt driveway, I saw contractors drilling for water in the neighboring farm.