23-Jul-2006 -- So, if you woke up one morning in Holbrook, Arizona, less than ten miles from a cp, and next to an interstate highway you could take to within a thousand meters of the spot, could you pass up such an opportunity?
Well, I couldn’t either.
I first exited I-40 at Sun Valley Road, made numerous turns trying to parallel the interstate heading east toward the cp, but became discouraged at a barbwire fence about 1.3 miles from my destination. I decided to retrace my route and approach the cp directly off the interstate, the same route used by Michael Grady for the first successful visit in September 2000. I headed east past the cp on I-40, then used the next exit to reverse course via a really tight one-lane underpass. Just after reaching the 110th meridian again, I pulled over at a box culvert that provided an easy place to get past the barbwire fence. [Legal Disclaimer: I really didn't see a sign warning "Emergency Stopping Only" until I was back on the highway and a half mile down the road. Does confluence hunting constitute an emergency in Arizona?] After topping a small rise near the road, the cp was only a short kilometer hike over level ground with sparse vegetation.
As reported on previous visits, the traffic on I-40 broke the silence of the spot, and could be seen to the southwest. Wildlife sightings consisted of a few rabbits, who were just a hare too quick for my camera to record, and an adjacent ant hill. Having been at Second Mesa on the Hopi Reservation the previous day for the Niman Ceremony [when the Katsinam (deities that bestow their songs and blessings upon the Hopi villages) return to their home on the San Francisco Peaks], I was reminded how in Hopi tradition, the people who properly followed the laws of Creation sought refuge with the Ant People when the First World was being destroyed: "Sotuknang said to the people 'While in their kiva, learn from the Ant People. They are industrious. They gather food in the summer for the winter. They keep cool when it is hot and warm when it is cool. They live peacefully with one another...'" Perhaps these descendents of the Ant People have chosen to live at this geographic point of significance to be ready to impart environmental knowledge to any visiting confluence hunters….
Random notes: At 9:00am local time this may be the earliest in the day for a visit to this point. 35N 110W has now been documented in six different months, most recently just eight weeks ago. Northern Arizona has entered its annual monsoon season since then (two nights earlier I passed through a veritable wall of water during a thunderstorm in Flagstaff), and the landscape is much greener than it appeared back at the end of May. A 15-mile drive to the east brings you to the famous Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. However, sharing the same birthday (both day and year) with Don Henley, the American rock musician from Gilmer, Texas, and former lead singer for the band "The Eagles," I decided to "take it easy" and continue my journey with a stop in nearby Winslow, Arizona, at "Standing on the Corner" Park.