11-Jun-2012 -- This is the second of eight planned confluences on our expedition along 38 and 39 north coming from 39N 107W.
The terrain relief is significant here! We found the town of Sawpit and the dirt road leading east and up the hill. We parked 767 meters away. I would visit this confluence alone while my wife kept tabs on me with our new Garmin Rino’s. We had replaced our older Rino’s earlier this year with these newer models due to a much greater range from 5 watts of transmit power and the ability to load imagery.
I crossed a wire cable across the road and then somehow managed to miss the trail I had wanted to take off to the left. The larger trail I stayed on kept me high on the hill and took me to an abandoned mine. I knew I wanted to be working my way down to the bottom of the gorge because the confluence was on the other side. I could see the “cairn” I needed to get to from all the way on the other side of the valley! The miners left a pretty significant scree field (supersized cairn?) where the confluence is located and that is where I needed to get to.
The next half an hour or so was quite challenging and I would do it differently if I ever had to repeat it. I was carrying a bag with a lot of expensive camera and electronics gear and was not wearing gloves, two things unnecessarily contributing to the difficulty of this trek. I finally found myself at the zero point at the southern portion of an eastern facing scree field of about 32 degrees in slope (See my Picture #8).
It was a beautiful day and after declaring success by using the custom message button on my Spot, taking lots of pictures and stopping my GPS data logging, it was time to head back. While starting back up the hill after my descent into the valley, I came upon the trail that I had missed earlier. I followed it all the way back to where we had parked. If I had followed it in the first place it would have saved me well over an hour. Creating a simple route with a couple of waypoints for such a short hike would have also prevented the additional effort.
You can follow along on movie I made with GoogleEarth using my gps track log posted here on YouTube. Select full screen!
Picture #6 shows a TerraSync screen shot on the left captured at the confluence and the resulting Pathfinder Office post processed GPS data on the right.
Picture #9 shows my wife and I at Monarch Pass the day prior. Picture #10 is a cylindrical panoramic QuickTime Virtual Reality movie. You can interactively zoom in and out throughout the image when displayed.
A quick washcloth shower and change of clothes followed by lunch and we were ready to continue. The dried sweat and dirt on Ross Finlayson’s GPS suggest a similar level of effort was expended to reach this challenging confluence!
Our adventure continues at 38N 110W.