03-Apr-2015 -- My wife and a good friend from college were on our way to Socorro, NM and would make a quick stop to visit this point along the way. Our ultimate goal for this trip was to visit the Trinity Site, where the first nuclear bomb was detonated 70 years ago, early the next morning. The site is now open twice a year again on the first Saturday of April and October. We had missed several previous opportunities and made firm plans to make it this year.
I used the Viewshed Tool in Google Earth Pro while preparing for this visit and determined that by parking directly abeam the point along Highway 12 and walking directly towards the point, our parking spot and path to the confluence would be completely masked by terrain as seen by the ranch south of the point.
We arrived abeam the point in the late afternoon. There were no signs posted along the fence and we parked where I had planned. My friend and I started towards the point after crossing a barbed wire fence and followed four pronghorn antelope eastward. My wife waited at the car and we stayed in radio contact throughout our hike. There was ample evidence (scat) of cows and bunnies as well as antelope on the mostly sandy ground with dried bunch grasses. Antelope were the only animals we saw.
It was fairly easy to obtain all zeroes at the confluence and we waited while my Trimble collected points. The view to the north has a small mountain range with a small cone at the left edge. The views in other directions had distant mountains except to the west where a small range was much closer. The southern view shows just the tops of the trees that surround the ranch house. The Viewshed Tool in Google Earth was extremely useful and accurate!
After an uneventful hike back we tried to make the Very Large Array Visitor Center before it closed but we were too late. We did manage to get several nice pictures of the sunset and we would be back in just another week when we could actually spend some time there.
The next morning, we got up very early to watch the Total Lunar Eclipse with some friends that had driven down from Albuquerque and then we were off towards the Stallion Gate to the White Sands Missile Range. We arrived at the gate around 07:30 and were about 100 cars from the gate that opened at 08:00. It was a neat drive out to the site – a place I had seen from the air several times. The monument itself was rather uneventful except for the historical significance and a very diverse set of visitors – many of them from other countries. On our way out, traffic was completely backed up the 5 miles from the gate to Hwy 380 with vehicles wanting to get in. They had a record number of visitors that day!
Differential correction reveals that my GPS receiver was .995 meters southwest of the actual confluence with a Horizontal Precision of 1.9 meters.
Total round trip hike time was 41 minutes and 1.4 miles from where we parked. Our Trinity Site visit was complemented by our visit to Project Faultless on a trip we made later in the year.
What a great confluence adventure!