20-Feb-2007 -- International Confluence Day, a four point observance in the American Midwest marking the 11th anniversary of the Degree Confluence Project. [Part II – An untimely thaw in northwestern Missouri]
Coming south from 41N 95W on U.S. 71, I crossed from Iowa into Missouri at 9:30am. Less than an hour later I turned west on Highway A.
Highway A had a surprising number of twisty turns through some hilly country as I headed west. I turned south on Highway H at the center of the small town of Fillmore. From the condition of some of its substantial older buildings, it is obvious the town of Fillmore saw busier days before moving from a place of prominence into the northwest Missouri backwater. I turned west on County Road 78, then south again on C.R. 77.
At 10:31a.m. I arrived at a closed gate on CR 77 just north of Lincoln Creek (which, about a kilometer to the west, flows into the same Nodaway River I had seen earlier in Iowa). I was .44 miles from the cp. From aerial photographs, I had hoped there might be a dirt road paralleling the creek to bring me even closer. However, this “road” turned out to be tire ruts atop a narrow levee, which I wouldn’t have wanted to drive in dry conditions, much less in winter.
Leaving the car beside the road, I skirted the gate and hiked along the high ground between field and creek to get as close to the cp as possible. Fresh tracks showed deer had already used the same path earlier in the day. At the 95th meridian, I was still 500 feet to the south. Especially as viewed from an elevated position on the levee, 40N 95W is a lovely spot. However, on this day, hazy conditions prevented great picture taking. With the temperature now 42 degrees F., the freshly worked field was obviously very soft. I was 5’ 10 1/2” tall when I entered my second corn field of the day, but was 6’ 3” arriving at the cp, as my boots had picked up at least five inches of mud on the way in.
Wishing to avoid an additional five inches of new mud on the way back to the levee, I noticed a drainage ditch parallel to my route a little further to the west. I thought the ditch banks looked a little higher, therefore possibly drier, so I carefully worked my way over to the ditch. For my trouble, at the edge of the field I picked up a full crop of sticking burrs from collar to cuff, but even with the inconvenience of the added weight of more new mud, I made it back to the car by 11:30a.m.
Not yet noon, and two cps and two states [three, if you count the state of excitement] were already recorded. 40N 96W, my cp #3, was 53.5 miles due west.