18-Dec-2011 -- On the first Sunday afternoon when I got home from college for Christmas break, I decided to try to find my first confluence, at 39°N 101°W. This confluence is only about six miles southeast of my house, and I had driven by it multiple times before. It was a beautiful afternoon on December 18th, and with a temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it was a very unusual day for this time of year in northwest Kansas. The weather in Kansas can be very random, and this was exemplified by the forecast for the following day which called for 20 degree weather with the possibility of snow. Armed with my new GPS, I proceeded east from my house on the dirt road Cedar Crest for about 6.0 miles, past some land that my family has farmed for generations, and then turned south on 360th Road. I proceeded south on 360th road for about 6.3 miles to the area just east of the confluence at 39 North.
After pulling over to the side of the road, I hiked about 75-80 meters out to the confluence point, which was found easily due to the flat, open expanse of land, typical for this area of northern Logan County. If I had gone about 10 miles further south, I would have crossed the Smoky Hill River valley, a not so flat, very interesting area full of limestone outcroppings where I have found many fossilized sharks teeth over the years, due to the fact that Kansas used to be under an ancient inland sea. I zeroed in on the confluence as the sun was getting ready to set in the west. The confluence point was in a grass field that had recently been converted to CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land in the last few years. CRP land is previously cultivated environmentally sensitive land that has been returned to its natural state by the landowner, who gets payment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To my north from the confluence point, I could see the ‘Bertrand’ house, an old, three story homestead built by a wealthy family in the 1910’s. This creepy looking half limestone house has recently been a place for local teens to go looking for a thrill on full-moon, Halloween nights. Also to the north were the Monument grain elevators, which were clearly visible. To the east, there was a winter-wheat field just across the road, and the town of Oakley, where I went to school, way in the distance to the NE. To the south, the expanse of CRP land stretched onward and there were some oil tanks in the distance. Finally, to the west, I saw the sun starting to melt into another beautiful Kansas sunset. As I drove back home, I took a few pictures of the sunset from just northwest of the confluence. It was a great first confluence visit, and I hope to go to many more confluence points in the near future.