13-Feb-2005 -- I met Cheryl in Las Vegas for a square dance weekend. We decided to take a couple extra days to take advantage of being in the area and go explore Southern Utah. Our exploration included a couple of confluences, a geodashing dashpoint, and of course the two major national parks, Zion and Bryce.
Our first stop was the confluence at 37N 114W. I had previously contacted Dave Mower, a fellow geodasher and confluence hunter, to get a few more details about his visit to this confluence. Dave had used an approach from the east that required an hour hike. Although not entirely clear in his report, Fred Mauerman apparently approached from the south using a 4WD vehicle up the Beaver Dam Wash to within 300 yards of the confluence. In my preliminary planning I knew we would be in Cheryl’s Honda CRV with AWD. On the other hand, I was prepared for and quite capable of hiking in the desert wilderness. I decided on Dave’s easterly approach mostly because I had more details and it seemed like the most conservative plan. As it turned out, with recent weather considerations, the southern approach would not have even been possible. On both previous visits Beaver Dam Wash was dry. That was definitely not the case for my visit. There had been significant rain a few days before and there was a lot of water still running in Beaver Dam Wash.
We left Las Vegas a little after noon on Sunday heading northeast on I-15 toward St. George, Utah and turned north on Old US-91 at Littlefield, Arizona. Just north of the Utah border a dirt road heads WSW in the general direction of the confluence. It got us to within about 1.8 miles and then continued generally west without getting much closer. We followed it all the way to Beaver Dam Wash where we were stopped by a swiftly flowing river of water 30 or 40 feet across. We backtracked to higher ground and found a side path (one could hardly call it a road) that took us a little further north and a bit closer to the confluence. I was about 1.5 miles from the confluence when I began my hike. I certainly could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had secured a good topo map because I went up and down a number of side canyons to Beaver Dam Wash while hiking in the direction of the confluence. From my vantage point on the bluffs above the wash, I could see the water flowing. I was just hoping I would reach the confluence before having to cross the water. Unfortunately, that was not the case. When I reached the main flow of water, I still had a quarter mile to go to reach the confluence. I had come a long ways and to be thwarted this close to my goal was simply not acceptable. I found a good stout walking stick and searched for the optimal place to cross the river. I ended up crossing where the river had split into several channels most of which did not reach the top of my boots. The main channel, however, was about 20 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches deep. The rest of my hike would be with wet feet. Finding the confluence from there was not difficult.
As you can see from the photos the confluence lies in one of the lesser channels of the Beaver Dam Wash; but it too still carried moving water. Photo #1 shows the view north up this part of the very wide Beaver Dam Wash. The photo #5 of my GPS showing all zeros was taken on a small rock in the midst of the water shown in photo #3 to the west. Incidentally, the time shown on the GPS is EST, two hours later than local MST. Photo #2 shows the view to the east with the bluffs from which I descended in the background. Photo #4 shows the view to the south down Beaver Dam Wash. Clearly the conditions for my visit were much different than the two visits four years earlier. I did note the fence mentioned in Dave Mower’s report, but it was on the ground and had caught a lot of debris from the earlier flow of water through the area. I wish I had taken a picture of the main channel of water I waded through, but I was focused on getting across and not thinking of pictures at that time.
On my return hike back to Cheryl I attempted to avoid all the up and down canyons. After crossing the river again, I hiked down the east side of the wash until I got to where I thought the mesa where we had parked was. Unfortunately I missed by one...one unnecessary canyon to negotiate. Still, that was better than the hike to the confluence. When I reached the car, I changed out of my wet clothes and boots and then headed back to the highway before darkness made back road travel more difficult.
This confluence ranks up there with my most difficult and challenging, but I enjoyed it immensely. That’s why we participate in this activity.