23-Apr-2005 -- It is always a good day for a confluence trek, and all the more so when the confluence is on a boundary. In this case, we found the confluence 80 meters from the northern boundary of Colorado and the southern boundary of Wyoming,
USA. Both of these western states are largely defined by lines of latitude and longitude, and it is amazing to discover how close the original surveys of the mid-1800s were to the latitude line as identified by GPS.
We left 42 North 107 West about 1230pm local time one fine spring day and bought some lunch at Laramie, Wyoming at 210pm. We drove southwest toward the Medicine Bow Range to Woods Landing, and then drove south on State Highway 10 to the Colorado-Wyoming border. Here, just south of a ranch house, we parked at a cattle guard at 305pm. After donning sunblock and our gear, we decided to strike out due east along the fence marking the border, with the confluence indicated as 850 meters to the east-northeast. This would take us straight up a hill at about a 50 degree incline, but fortified from our Laramie Lunch and our success earlier in the day, my confluence companions were all for it. In addition, I was wearing my Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day shirt from Environmental Systems Research
Institute. What could be finer than that? From the hilltop, we had a magnificent view of the Laramie River valley and the Medicine Bow Range beyond. I then took a photograph of my companions' heads entering Wyoming with
their feet still in Colorado. We were in open range country, dominated by sagebrush in the uplands and riparian trees and shrubs along the river valleys. While traversing up and down the hills, we startled something that we at first thought was an antelope. It turned out to be the largest jackrabbit we had ever seen; it seemed to be about 1 meter high standing up! Some dark clouds were blowing in and I thought we may get wet, but clear skies prevailed upon our return with a temperature of 55 F (13 C) with moderate winds.
After crossing several small ravines, we proceeded down a long slope just north of 41 North latitude, toward the most
major ravine in the area. We suspected that the confluence would lie in the ravine, but after eyeing the 7 meter
sides, we wondered how we could reach the bottom. In a fit of confluence serendipity, a break in the side at just the right point allowed for easy access, and the confluence was located midway down the slope. The confluence therefore lies on a slope of 50 degrees to the south, on the north side of Maggie Creek, just 80 meters due north from the Colorado-Wyoming fenceline, in Wyoming. Due to the soft dirt at the spot, the confluence dance proved a bit tricky to get one's footing. Serenity prevailed; we saw no people, homes, or other animals, although there was ample evidence indicating that the land had been grazed with cattle in the past. We were amazed that no official visitors had been here since 1999. The most extensive view from the confluence was down the ravine to the west-southwest.
I had been to 41 North twice before, at the Colorado-Wyoming border once with these same wonderful companions, and once by myself in Nebraska. I had also been to 106 West twice before, both times in Colorado.
After spending 20 minutes at the site taking photographs and a movie and enjoying the solitude, we proceeded down
Maggie Creek. In less than 100 meters, it proved too wet to traverse, although it was dry at the confluence site. We then hiked adjacent to the ravine on the north side until we reached the Colorado-Wyoming fenceline. After hiking due west along the fence, we spied a faint four-wheel drive vehicle track that made for much easier hiking. This led us back to the road, and we reached the vehicle at 450pm, with a round trip trek time of 1 hour and 45 minutes. In retrospect, it would be much easier to trek to the confluence along this four-wheel drive track and follow the ravine embankment to the confluence. However, like all such expeditions, it is more interesting to make a loop and hike a different way in than out. After taking a few more photographs, we drove south up the valley to Colorado Highway 14, and then
down the winding Cache La Poudre valley to Fort Collins, Colorado, arriving there by 7pm. We arrived home at 830pm. An excellent way to spend
the day, visiting two confluences!