01-Jul-2013 -- This would be the seventh confluence on a trip that took us across northern Colorado and Utah along 40N. We were coming from 40N 111W.
Just over a year ago, I had aborted an attempt at this same confluence as a result of insufficient planning. We were much more prepared this time.
On my previous attempt from the south, I had started too far to the east. We followed Moore Cutoff or road 803 once again until this intersection leading to the north right by mile marker 9 and parked not too far away just beyond this intersection where we offloaded our ATV’s and prepared to quickly cover the remaining 9 km (direct).
It was easy going by ATV – certainly quicker and with a lot less work than by mountain bike. It was also very warm out 38°C+ and there was absolutely no shade. The double track is fairly easy to follow but having a planned route to follow made it easier when the path faded over hard rock or if there were other uncertainties with the best visible routing.
We easily drove right up to the spot and saw the existing cairn. I set the Trimble and Spot on the cairn and then began to set up my Gigapan. On my attempt last year I realized that this would be the perfect spot for a high resolution panoramic with all the colors. I had taken other Gigapans here and here and should have practiced by taking some more before I was out in the middle of the remote Utah desert to take another one.
The GigaPan basically stitches a bunch of pictures together to create a huge mosaic that you can pan and zoom around in. If you have a zoom lens, you need to set the field of view before starting the sequence so that there is adequate overlap. What I discovered halfway through my (second) 192 shot sequence was that the GigaPan thought the camera field of view was set up for 70 mm when the lens was actually zoomed into 200 mm – meaning that there would be vertical and horizontal gaps in my final image.
There was insufficient battery life remaining for a third image (did I say it was hot out?). The final stitched image came out to 199360 x 16412 pixels and is significantly reduced to fit here in Picture 7. There is some interesting blending there – the horizontal gaps do not show with the terrain and it’s hard to tell until you see the rendering of our ATVs. Ok, practice, practice, practice, before I attempt another one of these.
It was very quiet at the confluence (and hot!) so we packed back up for the ride back to the Tahoe.
TerraSync post processing of the 3211 GPS points reveals that my Trimble placed on the existing cairn placed by David Mower 12 years prior was only .95 meters northwest of the actual confluence with a horizontal precision of 1.9 meters. Way to go David!
Reduction of my Garmin data show that the total round trip time off Moore Cutoff / Road 803 was 4:10 and the total distance was 21.7 km. Included in that time is a leisurely 2 hours spent at the confluence. A high clearance vehicle would get you to within 200-500 meters along the double track (depending on how far you wanted to follow an even smaller double track towards the confluence) but it would definitely not be as fun as on an ATV, see Picture #9.
It’s a good feeling when you finally visit a very remote confluence! However, poor planning and familiarity with my GigaPan prevented me from getting the high resolution panoramic images I had envisioned. The detailed colors at this confluence are amazing.
A very worthy confluence! Onward to 36N 111W!