06-Sep-2003 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer from Denver, Colorado, USA, pilgrimaged to 39 North 105 West on a late summer Saturday to conclude a two-confluence trek with my favorite confluence partners, Emily and Lilia Kerski. Earlier in the day, we had hiked to 39 North 104 West on the high plains of Colorado. We traveled through Colorado Springs and drove up the canyon on US 24 in the shadow of Pikes Peak. We reached the community of Woodland Park as the day was becoming gloomy with an approaching storm. We traveled north and east from Woodland Park on Rampart Range Road, and arrived at the Air Force Academy property line at approximately 4pm. As we had already done our "hike for the day," and as a light rain had begun to fall, I asked the girls if they wanted to make another
pilgrimage. To my surprise, they were willing, and hence, we made a hasty departure through the Air Force gate, heading due east down a vehicle trail-turned foot trail.
The GPS unit gave the distance to the confluence as .81 km at that point, but we stayed on the trail as long as possible to avoid the wet grasses. After passing an abandoned farm building, we left the trail when it curved toward the northeast and continued straight east up and down several ridges, crossing two barbed wire fences at places where the fences had fallen over. We could not help but notice how different this confluence area was from the confluence one degree east that we had visited earlier in the day. In contrast to the high plains environment of 39
North 104 West, 39 North 105 West is in the easternmost section of the Colorado Front Range, a part of the Rocky Mountains. The elevation, about 1,000 meters higher (at 2,830 meters) than that of 104 West, means that the vegetation here is comprised of alpine grasses, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, and aspen trees. The confluence lies on the western edge of US Air Force Academy land, where the only allowed land uses are hunting and hiking, and fortunately for us, no target practice.
After three moderately steep ascents and two descents of ridges, we arrived at the confluence site at 4:50pm, about 35 minutes after our hike began. The site lies on a north-facing slope covered in the aforementioned vegetation. The temperature was approximately 17 degrees C with light winds. Because of the darkening western sky and the light rain falling, we spent less than 15 minutes at the site. We saw no animals or birds during our hike. After the confluence visit, we thought we had taken the exact same route back, but upon spotting an outbuilding we had not
seen before, we brought out the GPS and used it to navigate back to the trail. We arrived at the vehicle at 5:35pm and drove back to Woodland Park, where the torrent of rain we had been expecting finally fell for about 10 minutes.
Afterwards, we were treated to a sunny, beautiful Colorado evening as we drove north from Woodland Park toward Deckers, through the charred trees from the 2002 fire season, and arrived back in Denver, Colorado, at 8pm.