20-Oct-2001 -- After visiting 47N/108W, Kirsten and I drove west to the small town of Grassrange. From there, a good-quality gravel road runs west along McDonald Creek just north of the Little Snowy Mountains. Although the road came within a quarter-mile of the confluence point, the topo map indicated that there was a major elevation change, and we were unsure whether the slope would be walkable.
Of even more concern as we neared the confluence were several explicit No Trespassing signs posted along the side of the road. We encountered one local landowner along the way who identified the owner of a ranch near the confluence point and gave me his phone number. Being unsure where the property lines were in relation to the confluence point, I went on to the next ranch and spoke with the owners. They confirmed that the Stone family owned the property where the confluence point was and were kind enough to let me use their telephone to call the Stones.
I spoke to Mrs. Stone for a good long while, explaining about the Degree Confluence Project and how I wanted to take photographs on their land. She was interested and said that there would be no problem with my going onto their land, as long as I sent the pictures back to her. This I was happy to do, of course, and pleased at having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, we returned to the site.
Mrs. Stone had told me of a winding path that led onto the top of the ridge north of the road, but as the search for the landowner had taken quite a bit of time, I decided to take the straight-up route, of which Mrs. Stone had warned me would take some "mountain climbing." Kirsten decided to forego the climb and waited for me at the bottom.
The approach actually was not as bad as I had feared, as there were some animal paths on the property and several good drainages providing ways to get to the top. After about 20 minutes, I was on top of the ridge. The confluence point itself was only a few minutes' walk from there.
The point is in a small forested depression north of the ridge, so the best views are actually from the ridge. The Little Snowys were obscured by cloud, but I managed not to get rained on as I slowly and overcautiously made my way back down the steep slope.
The best view of the trip came as we drove north along a small gravel road back to the highway, with the Judith Mountains and Black Butte clearly shown.
From there, we headed west into Lewistown for a late 4 o'clock lunch and mulled over whether we'd have time to visit 47N/110W.