21-Jul-2006 -- We were planning a road trip to the Durango area in southwest Colorado for our summer vacation. There were lots of confluences just waiting to be visited but which ones? I knew that fellow confluencer Joseph Kerski lived in Colorado so I decided to see if a joint visit to one of the confluences he had not visited would be possible.
He has daughters about the same age as I do and we thought it would be fun for them to meet – so they could talk and share common stories about their crazy geo-dads! It was an iterative process working to see if our busy schedules could be synchronized for a day to finally meet and visit a confluence.
In the week before this hike, my family and I had taken a wonderful round-trip ride on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Two days before, my daughters and I had hiked down to the Gunnison River from the Visitors Center at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – a hike that Joseph had recommended. What an incredible adventure! It also gave our legs a pretty good workout – so much so that you could really feel them walking downhill and there would be almost 1000 feet of that on this hike….
We camped at the trailhead just off the dirt State Highway 78 and met Joseph in the morning. We began hiking down the trail and it was very apparent that Joseph has a great love of geography and a natural ability to positively inspire and motivate kids about all the cool things an interest in geography can lead to.
We continued down the trail and crossed over the slow-running St Charles River. We followed the trail uphill and continued until we were at our closest point of approach.
It was time to leave the trail and scramble through the forest and down a fairly significant and rocky slope to the confluence.
Heavy tree cover attenuated the signal strength and made for a wandering zeropoint. Both of us were able to capture all zeroes although at slightly different locations. The estimated position accuracy displayed was about 5 meters. All of us were feeling pretty centered while we were at the confluence. We also decided that it would take quite a long time to capture a shot of all five of our GPS units simultaneously displaying zeroes so we each declared victory with our single unit photos and then took more pictures of the surrounding area.
Picture #1 looks south. Picture #2 looks west. Picture #3 looks north. Picture #4 looks east. Picture #5 shows a group of "centered" confluencers. Picture #6 shows an instantaneous (and elusive) integer reading.
Our return was simply a reverse routing of the path to the confluence. We ate some grapes at the trailhead and discussed other possible joint confluences. Joseph began his trip home and we would continue one degree north and visit my alma mater.
Total time for this adventure was about 4 hours from the trailhead.