05-Sep-2015 -- I was in serious confluence withdrawal with my last visited point some four months before, and was looking forward to what has become my annual day or two out in the field solely to visit confluence points. This year, the only time available was Labor Day weekend, a holiday in the USA, and even though the traffic would be heavier, the day had dawned to embark. Having some Geographic Information Systems work to do in the morning, I did not get started on my trek until 9:30am, but by noon I had visited 39 North 106 West, and by 2:45pm, had visited 38 North 106 West. The day was drawing short by the time I neared my third confluence of the day, late afternoon. As I drove south on US 285, a spectacular thunderstorm obscured all of the mountains to the west of the valley. My anticipation mounted as I passed through Antonito, whose main street was being repaved, because although I was nearing my third confluence of the day, this would be my first "new" confluence point.
I parked about 200 meters north of the Colorado-New Mexico state line, at which existed a pull off gravel spot to the right of the roadway. However, finding a pull off about 200 meters north was the trickiest part of the whole trek, but I did my best, choosing wisely so nobody would sideswipe my vehicle. I waited for traffic to pass and exited the vehicle, walking to the fence to the west of the road and then north-northwest along it until I found a crossover point where wood beams allowed for easier climbing. Being careful of snakes, I side-stepped the yucca and a few prickly pear cacti, and once on the other side, walked southwest across flat ground to the confluence point. I reached it in about five minutes from the fence, which made for one of the easiest confluence treks of all of my journeys--about 15 minutes from the vehicle.
The confluence lies on what was one of the most scenic points I have ever visited. To the south lies one of the magnificent shield volcanoes that lie scattered at the southern end of the San Luis Valley, along the Colorado-New Mexico border. To the west, the mountains were in a continual changing pattern of shadow, sunlight, and rain. A few sprinkles fell on me but the rain stayed to the west and north. It was about 4:00pm in late summer--early September--a magnificent time to be outside in Colorado. Besides, state line confluences such as this one are extra "spatial". A few wildflowers were still growing and the ground was about half covered with plants and about half was rock or soil. Some darker volcanic stones lay on the soil. I had visited 37 North numerous times in the past, from California on the west to Virginia on the east. My treks to 106 West had been fewer--from a foiled attempt in Wyoming on the north to just one degree north of here in Colorado, I had only stood on this meridian a half a dozen times. It was wonderful to be at a new point, which, again, I found to be among the most beautiful I have visited in my 300+ point journeys spanning nearly 15 years. The mountains can be seen in all directions. Given my goal of seeing one more confluence on this day, I spent only 20 or so minutes at the site. I saw no people but certainly some vehicles to the east of me, on the highway.
I hiked back the way I had come in, and after reaching the vehicle, took a few photos at the state line a few hundred meters to the south. Welcome to New Mexico! But given the late hour, would I reach my goal of the 4th confluence of the day, at 36 North 106 West? Go to that point's confluence web site to find out! I knew that even if I did not make four points today, it still was a great day and I had some great moments at this site. Get out there and explore the world!