06-Jul-2014 -- As I was in the midst of a whirlwind weekend finally getting out and practicing what I preach, namely, to "get out there on the landscape," and as the weekend included one of my long-desired places to visit, the magnificent Theodore Roosevelt National Park, this confluence point, being so close, was a natural one to attempt. After a wonderful tour of the park by my friend and colleague, I was able to get in a little over two hours of work while sitting in the lobby of the historic hotel in Medora. After this, I drove west on I-94 to Beach, North Dakota, the last stop on the highway before it entered Montana. I bought some water and fuel at the Flying J travel plaze there, and then ventured into the unknown--onto State Highway 16, a road I had never before traveled.
The highway was bordered on both sides by fields of canola, sunflowers, wheat, and alfalfa. Just 4.5 miles north of Beach, I looked for a location to park. This proved to be the most challenging part of the journey, so I would have to say that overall, this confluence trek was one of my easiest. A mile to the south, I had passed someone with a wide mowing apparatus, mowing the shoulder, and I did not want to block his progress by parking in the grass. The grass and weeds here were nearly 1 meter high, and growing right up to the pavement edge. I finally settled on a driveway leading to an abandoned farmhouse to the west of the road, about 150 meters north of 47 North. Gathering supplies, I set off.
I walked south along the road, which wasn't easy due to the lack of road shoulders, and ended up on some very rough ground on the east side of it. Once I struck east-southeast into the field, walking became a bit easier. I did watch out for snakes and a prickly pear cactus or two, but it seemed a bit far north for the cactus. I kept angling southeast. The grass became at least waist high, and I enjoyed walking through there so much that I created a video "for all people of North Dakota" expounding on the beauty of the state. Next, I passed a sign that indicated that the area was part of a "open access" program thanks to the local landowners, which obviously was a very good "sign" indeed. After about 20 minutes walk from the road, I arrived at the confluence point.
The time was about 3:30pm. It was approximately 85 degrees F under partly sunny skies and light winds, definitely not as hot as I had been expecting; actually quite pleasant. It was evident that they have received more rain than usual here, given the size of the grass and the abundance of sweet yellow clover. I had not visited a confluence point in North Dakota since 2010, and it was good to be back. I had stood on 47 North only one other time, back in 2010, here in North Dakota. I had stood on 104 West more times than 47 North, ranging from here in North Dakota, on to South Dakota and Nebraska, and south to the border of Colorado and New Mexico. I saw no animals and few birds. I saw no people although a few farmhouses were in view from the point. The land was gently rolling although the immediate confluence vicinity was fairly flat. The longest vista was to the southeast. I spent about 25 minutes at the point filming and lying in the grass. I marveled at how easy this point is, yet it had not been visited since 2001.
I hiked out the way I came in, pausing to take some landscape photos near some large hay bales. It really is a beautiful spot. I reached the vehicle and contemplated visiting the confluence point 1 degree to the west, in Montana. It was already nearly 4:30pm local time. Would I have enough time to visit that one?