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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : California

5.6 miles (9.0 km) W of San Ardo, Monterey, CA, USA
Approx. altitude: 359 m (1177 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 59°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: My GPS receiver's display at the confluence point #3: The trail leading down the ridgeline towards the confluence (which is in the center of this photo) #4: Looking through the chapparral, just above the confluence point #5: A meadow leading to the confluence point (which is just off the left of this photo) #6: This confluence is <i><b>just</i></b> over this hill #7: Digital proof that I didn't make it... Damn.

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  36°N 121°W (visit #1)  

#1: A view of the confluence point, which lies just within the chaparral in the background

(visited by Spencer Lindsay and Ross Finlayson)

The successful visit by Ross Finlayson:

13-May-2000 -- Inspired by Spencer Lindsay's earlier attempt, by the recent cancellation of the GPS "Selective Availability" error, and by the need to finish a roll of film :-), I set off to try to conquer this elusive confluence. I began by exiting highway 101 at San Ardo, and drove north along Paris Valley Road, looking to the left for a farm road that might take me towards the confluence. Unfortunately, all likely looking farm roads were signed "No Trespassing".

I then drove south-west to Lockwood, and then eastward along the dirt/gravel "Lockwood-San Ardo Road", back towards San Ardo. This is the route that Spencer took during his attempt. At its closest point, this road passes just 1 mile to the south of the confluence, but there's a steep ridge in the way that would make access difficult.

Instead of trying to attack the confluence from the closest point on this road, I decided to start from a point further west, at the road's high point [35.98707,-121.01543] - just 1.25 miles northwest of the confluence. The area here is signed as BLM (i.e., public land), and is covered with thick chaparral - except, fortunately, for a network of dirt roads and trails.

Taking my trusty mountain bike, I rode north along a dirt road, and then found (at [35.99105,-121.01908]) a dirt bike trail heading steeply down the ridge to the right. It turns out that this trail (photo 3) leads directly to the confluence! After about a mile, the trail exits the chaparral into a meadow (photo 5), on the edge of farmland. The confluence lies near the boundary between chaparral and farmland - just inside the chaparral (photo 1). On my hands and knees, I crawled to within 20 feet of the confluence (according to my GPS receiver). I then had to slog back up the steep trail (pushing my bike most of the way), getting back to the ridgetop just before sunset.

It's possible that the farmland near the confluence point belongs to the paranoid land owner that Spencer talked to by phone, so I'd be somewhat wary about visiting this confluence in the future. (On the other hand, it was clear that the route I took is popular with dirt bikes, and most of it does appear to be public land.)

The attempt by Spencer:

07-Aug-99 (attempted) -- Almost got the confluence today! N36 W121 is right off of Hwy 101 near San Ardo. Yup, Pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I pulled off and took a little dirt road up the hill about 9 miles, following the GPS trail, and came to the closest place I could get on the road. The terrain is really hilly and has about five foot tall brush all over it. Definitely a confluence to gear up for. I took some snaps of the bend in the road for Len and Deb and future reference. There's a two inch layer of white chalk all over the road so I think if we hit this place in the winter (when it's a bit cooler), we're gonna need a 4X4 (not sure if the VW Van will make it).

On the way up to the site, I talked to a farmer out painting his trees (some kind of bug repellant, no doubt) and he gave me the name and number of the owner of the property. So I called him. I figured that he'd be psyched to join in this holiest of projects. Not so. The old bird told me (and I quote) "Stay the f**k off my goddamn land you freak! I don't want any of you internet child-porn bastards up on my property! Next thing, every pervert in the world will be calling me about my land!" (end quote). I guess this guy has a few issues with the information superhighway. So the pictures of the naked hampsters I took on his property (only 0.97 miles from the confluence!) will have to do. I was thinking about posting his name and number, but that would be mean. And here I sit at the bar in North Hollywood, chilling with a G&T and rapping with some German tourists..


 All pictures
#1: A view of the confluence point, which lies just within the chaparral in the background
#2: My GPS receiver's display at the confluence point
#3: The trail leading down the ridgeline towards the confluence (which is in the center of this photo)
#4: Looking through the chapparral, just above the confluence point
#5: A meadow leading to the confluence point (which is just off the left of this photo)
#6: This confluence is just over this hill
#7: Digital proof that I didn't make it... Damn.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)