05-Jul-2014 -- As I had been thwarted from visiting this point by the Mother's Day snowstorm two months prior, and as I then realized that the Wyoming approach was infeasible, I was now prepared for another attempt. This time, I would approach from the southeast, rather than from the west. I awoke at 4:00am and by the time dawn was breaking, was in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I drove through Torrington and instead of cutting over to the west and then north again on US Highway 85, I took a road I have long wanted to take, State Highway 159, due north from Torrington. As expected, this was wonderful, with the morning sun shining on the fields, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. At a group of what seemed to be sandstone outcrops, the road ended at US Highway 20, which I took east into Nebraska.
At Harrison, the next chapter in the adventure began, because again it was a road I had never taken before, Monroe Canyon Road. It wound through some magnificent forest-covered slopes and then onto some beautiful grasslands. I kept winding north to Edgemont Road. The views were excellent and some of the hay from the large ranch here bundled up nicely for picturesque photo moments. I had considered visiting Toadstool State Park, but I had heard that the road had been underwater. These roads I was on, so far, were dry, which was excellent because as soon as I turned onto Indian Creek Road, it was only one lane, with a center strip of tall grass. Still, in the rental car I was able to make slow but steady progress, until I saw the line of trees marking the Nebraska-South Dakota boundary in a wide lowland that was probably only wet after heavy rains. I passed a fork in the road with some handmade structures. The road passed a lake with some wonderful dead old trees and real lily pads, and even some real frogs that were making noise, all of which I photographed on the way out: Hay Creek Wallace Reservoir. Next, I passed an abandoned farmhouse. The road worsened in condition and I was soon going about 10 miles per hour. At what I knew would be the final fork, I took the right turn, leading northwest. This road was on Google maps, but it was barely more than a trail, with the center grass standing about 3 feet high. I considered backing up but kept going until I reached a cattle guard. Here I stepped out but not before very gingerly turning the car around.
After gathering supplies and walking northwest for about 10 minutes, I turned northeast and reached the confluence about 10 minutes later. The confluence lies on flat ground adjacent to a very faint trail that had been driven on long ago. A cattle pen lay about 100 meters to the northwest, but no houses or other structures could be seen. It was about 80 F, just getting warm, under sunny skies that contained thin, very high, clouds. I had long wanted to visit this confluence and was happy to be here, in the northwestern corner of Nebraska. I had been to 43 North numerous times before, from Idaho on the west to New Hampshire on the east, and on 104 West fewer times, from Nebraska on the north to the Colorado-New Mexico border on the south. I had a very nice collection of Nebraska confluences over the years, perhaps 8 by now. The terrain here was exactly what I expected it would be, and I made a straight line route back to the vehicle, looking out for snakes and prickly pear cactus as I high stepped it through the tall grass. I saw no animals and just a few birds. I had not seen a person since back before Harrison, Nebraska. It was a magnificent confluence.
I was now at the intersection with the homemade structures. This back roads driving was taking longer than I expected, and I was about an hour behind schedule. Still, I was enjoying myself and set sights on 44 North 104 West, one degree to the north. From the looks of the satellite image map, a road bent to the north from this location and from it, I could reach State Highway 6412 in South Dakota. From the fork, I took the road and wound around a few hills before descending into the river bottomlands that marked the Nebraska-South Dakota border. A truck passed me and I waved to the driver, then I took a picture at what was the perfect swimming hole, a lake that was about 1 hectare in size. I then drove north on the road that took me past a ranch house. I had just about emerged to the grasslands upland on the South Dakota side when the driver of the truck came up behind me and flagged me down. She said that this was a private road and asked me what I was doing here. Apparently she had had some problems with someone here recently and I assured her I was just a geographer wandering around the countryside, just having visited the confluence. I offered to drive back the way I came but she gave me the OK to keep going, and we parted amiably. I enjoyed the grasslands and gravel roads to Highway 6412. Once there, I took this road straight north, and it was magnificent, among the sweet yellow clover and other blooming plants on both sides, all the way to Provo, South Dakota, which I filmed in this video. This scenery was a great way to end this confluence visit.