05-Sep-2015 -- I was in some serious confluence withdrawal with my last visited point some four months before, and was looking forward to what has become my annual day or two out in the field solely to visit confluence points. This year, the only time available was Labor Day weekend, a holiday in the USA, and even though the traffic would be heavier, the day had dawned to embark. Having some Geographic Information Systems work to do in the morning, I did not get started on my trek until 9:30 am, but by noon I had visited 39 North 106 West. Now, here it was early afternoon, and I was entering the magnificent San Luis Valley, heading south toward the town of Moffat, set amidst the sage and surrounded by mountains.
I turned west just after passing through the small town, and passed structures set far away amidst the grasses and sagebrush. A large storm was west-northwest of me, and when I parked the vehicle just west of the 106th Meridian, I made sure to take my raincoat. I had remembered a residence east of the confluence point from my last visit here, but did not see it today. Had the owners pulled up stakes? This was indeed a pretty harsh environment; with hard soils where they weren't irrigated, and being such a high valley, it experiences some of the coldest winter temperatures of anywhere in Colorado. Due to the gathering clouds, I wasted no time gathering supplies, hiking north-northeast to the point. The late summer day was cooling off with the clouds building, about 78°F, and the ground was about ⅓ bare soil and ⅔ various high semiarid plants. I made sure to look out for snakes but did not see any animals whatsoever. With any luck, the storm would pass to my north. It was very pleasant walking here, with some of the native plants in bloom. Wanting to visit two additional points today, however, I kept as brisk a pace as I could do. After 25 minutes or so from my starting point, I arrived at the confluence.
The confluence lies on land sloping ever so gently to the south, toward the Rio Grande, which runs along the south part of the valley. It was just about 2:00 pm (1400) in late summer - early September - a magnificent time to be outside in Colorado. I had visited 38 North numerous times in the past, from California on the west to the east coast - Virginia. My treks to 106 West had been fewer - from a foiled attempt in Wyoming on the north to just one degree north of here in Colorado, I had only stood on this meridian a half a dozen times. It was wonderful to be back at this point, which is one the most beautiful points I have ever visited in my 300+ point journeys spanning nearly 15 years. The views in all directions are magnificent, despite the fact that one is standing on the valley floor. On this day, with the storm passing north of me, the area was particularly beautiful, so much so that I created a video of the storm.
I hiked back largely the way I had come in, avoiding some particularly muddy places, and now I did see the residence off a half kilometer or so to the east. I drove back to the east, and then south toward Alamosa. It was a great day and I had some great moments at this site. Get out there and explore the world!