08-Jul-2014 -- This would be the third of seven confluences traveling west along 41N. We were coming from 41N 106W.
We had spent the night in Steamboat Springs and continued north on County Road 129 until we made a very sharp right turn onto County Road 129B or Forest Service Road 551 or 447 depending on which map you are looking at here. We crossed the Middle Fork of the Little Snake River and then made a right turn off onto an unnamed double track to the east here and entered the Routt National Forest where we continued uphill along this track until we reached a large flat clearing with a small stream running through it. This parking spot was downstream from the confluence and I would simply hike the rest of the way up to the confluence following my preplanned routing.
Starting at an elevation of about 7624’ I would climb about 600’ through the thick forest with lots of underbrush to an elevation of 8278’. My planned route was not the easiest actual route and after continuous bushwacking, I soon found myself one valley to the west and slightly above the confluence. My return route heading almost directly south from the confluence was definitely easier following animal paths wherever I could but it was by no means direct.
The confluence itself was located on a southeast facing slope of about 15-20 degrees. Thick ferns about 1 meter tall dominated the groundcover at the confluence which was surrounded by a stand of aspen intermixed with conifers. The longest unobstructed view was to the southeast. Light winds created a gentle rustling sound in the aspen and helped cool this sweaty hiker!
I took several pictures and started logging GPS positions on my Trimble GPS and sent a Spot message announcing my successful visit to those that were following my adventure. My wife was able to keep radio contact with me using our Garmin RINO’s.
The return trip is always easier and usually shorter and that was the case here.
TerraSync post processing of the GPS data reveals the actual confluence location was 3.4 meters southeast of where I had found all zeroes with a horizontal precision of 3.4 meters.
Total round trip time off County Road 129 was 3:45 with 7.7 km of driving. Within that time was 2:34 spent on my serpentine roundtrip hike of 4.6 km. Almost an hour of the total time was spent rinsing off, eating lunch, and resting after my hike.
This was a very worthy confluence!
Onward to 41N 108W!