08-Sep-2012 -- I had long wanted to visit this confluence, as it was one of the few points in or on the boundary of Colorado that I have not yet visited, and one of my goals is to visit every point in the state. I am not sure I will make it to each of these points, but I am still trying and will do my best to achieve my goal. The opportunity finally arose late one summer to visit one more of these in my quest, that of 41 North 105 West. I arose two hours before dawn and, as previous visitors have narrated, as the eastern horizon was lightening, encountered numerous blocked roads on the Colorado side of the border, west of Interstate Highway 25. Not quite willing to admit defeat, I then made a stop at the Duck Creek Hunting Preserve on the Wyoming side and at the ranch headquarters there, and then, after making phone calls and leaving messages, and finding all leads exhausted, resigned myself after dawn to a nice hike near some exposed granite just east of I-25. Back in my youth, this had been a rest stop along the highway but had long closed. It looked rather forlorn, with some beer cartons and cans littering the potholed lot where families had once stopped en route to adventures in Wyoming. I was just about ready to stop and enjoy a leisurely walk along this frontage road when I found an underpass leading to a house underneath the highway. I drove there and stopped in the home's driveway. Finding nobody at home, I left a note requesting permission and my goal and began hiking northwest.
I had a long hike ahead of me and was not certain I would make it, as I had an appointment later that morning in Fort Collins, but I thought an attempt was at least possible. I donned sunblock and my hat, and made sure my camera and GPS and water bottle were with me. This was dry country, with the annual rainfall not much more than 15 inches in a good year. Thus, the grasses were short, but I had to watch for sharp rocks and the occasional prickly pear cactus and yucca. The most direct route took me over the railroad tracks, up a small ridge, and, after descending this ridge, up a valley that was about a thousand feet wide. The valley hike took at least 25 minutes. Along the way I passed a long-decayed cattle carcass, its hide stretched and sun-dried over its bones. Not long afterwards I skirted a cattle pen and windmill-driven water pump and trough. It was a magnificent day, clear as a bell, with a hint of autumn in the air, about 45 F when I began and about 75 F by the time I finished. I ascended a ridge, descended into another valley, and then hiked up a long drainage to a fence that I suspected was the Wyoming border. Here, I saw some antelope, which has to be one of the most magnificent sights known to humans. They are wonderful creatures. This was definitely my longest hike of the year and one of the longer confluence treks I had undertaken, though far from the longest. The valley continued and I crossed my first roadway as the terrain changed from high plains to the beginnings of the ridges that eventually changed into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. These beautiful ridges are topped with pinon, juniper, and even some pine trees. I skirted a ridge and changed from hiking northwest to due west, ascending the steepest ridge to date, and discovered the confluence just over the top of this ridge.
I had been hiking nearly two hours at a brisk (4 miles per hour) pace without a rest stop, and now was quite winded. Given my upcoming appointment, though, I did not allow myself much of a break, even at the confluence. In about 10 minutes, I was on my way back down the ridge. The confluence lies about 1 meter to the west of a ledge that is about 2 meters high. The ledge was just about perfect for perching the camera on and taking a few photographs. The view to the northwest was fairly long; about 2 miles. The view to the north showed a truck and cattle; the view due west was obscured by another ridge about 100 meters away, and the view to the south was even more obscured by the eastward extension of the same ridge. The view to the east, a few meters to the east of the confluence, was the most magnificent of them all. From here, one can see at least 15 miles, perhaps 20, past I-25 and the metal buffalo atop a ridge that has marked the Wyoming line for many decades along this highway. The sun was quite high and it was a bit breezy. Fortunately, it was not hot. I had visited 41 North several times before, from Utah on the west to New Jersey on the east. I had also stood on 105 West several times in the past, from Wyoming to the north to New Mexico to the south.
Quickly now I made my exit, this time taking a more direct route down the ridge, past the road, and back to the Wyoming border down the same valley as I had ascended an hour earlier. On the return hike, it seemed windier, but it was definitely warmer. This time I did allow myself a few breaks for water and photographs, once to film a movie of the beautiful high plains, and once to film the cattle carcass that I passed once more. Upon my return to the house where I had parked, I saw no one and my note was still there. Departing the scene, I noted that my round trip hike time was 3 hours and 15 minutes, with a total distance of 17 kilometers (10.5 miles). The hike was strenuous, but mostly because I was in such a hurry. It is a beautiful part of the world and I was thankful that I had the opportunity to experience it.