09-May-2014 -- As I was en route to Casper to teach four workshops in web mapping, geographic information systems, and spatial thinking, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect starting point. The workshops were for educators attending the first Wyoming Social Studies conference that had taken place in many years, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. But I considered it my honored duty to practice what I preach, namely, to get out into the field, onto the landscape.
The opportunity came with the confluence of 42 North 105 West, an easy visit not far from the Interstate Highway 25, on which I was traveling northbound. By late morning, I had passed some of my all time favorite bluffs, those at Chugwater, and was nearing Wheatland. Somehow, immersed in gazing upon the landscape, I missed the exit to the south of town, and thus had to use the main Wheatland exit. This required me to travel, after exiting, west on Mariposa Parkway and then to double back to the south on Ferguson Road. The day was a pleasant one: Spring had arrived in Wyoming and it was about 68 F. I turned west on Reservoir Road and recognized the field to the south. During my last visit to this confluence, I parked right here and walked to the south to the point. However, my previous visit here was in January and I had been walking on last Fall's corn remains. Now it was May, and the alfalfa was already about a foot high. Wanting to minimize my stepping on the plants, this time I parked to the west of the point, on Ayers Road, and walked east to the confluence. It seemed unbelievable that I had not visited here in over 7 years. It seemed like not long ago.
First, I walked along a track that trucks had traversed before me, and then on the giant circle marking the outer perimeter of the center pivot irrigation device. When the distance to the point was as small as it was going to get, I traversed gingerly to the spot, making certain I did not step on the plants. There was plenty of space between them, which was a good thing. I was no more than 7 minutes from the road and already at the spot. The ground was flat, a moderate wind was blowing, but it was mild here near the middle of the day. It was good to be back at a Wyoming confluence, my first since November 2011 when I trekked to a very cold point north of Laramie and just one degree west of here.
I have uploaded a video to this visit's documentation, but also a higher resolution version here. I had stood on 105 West several times in the past, from Wyoming on the north to New Mexico on the south, and have stood many more times on 42 North, from Wyoming on the west to Massachusetts on the east. I spent about 15 minutes at the site, and filmed a video as I was departing. Before returning to the vehicle, filmed a bit in the pit that was adjacent to the road, which made for some interesting photographs. I saw a few birds but no animals and no people. The longest vista was of the mountain range to the west.
Next, I drove out the way I came in, stopping briefly in Wheatland. Two hours later, my next stop was the school where the conference would be held: Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. This confluence trek was indeed a great way to begin the social studies conference.