06-Sep-2015 -- I was in some 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 weekend had arrived to embark. The day before, I had visited 4 points on 106 West beginning at 39 North, and ending at 36 North. Still having energy to continue, I drove on a very dark road from Santa Fe to Moriarty, arriving there at 9:00pm. After a nice night in the back seat of the rental vehicle at the Pilot Truck Stop there, I awoke very near to 35 North 106 West, which was my plan. I had never before slept so close to a confluence point: It took me only 10 minutes to leave town, and five more to reach the section of road that runs south of the point from the town of Moriarty and park: I found a location a few hundred meters east of the 106th Meridian that looked fair, though not ideal. A few cars passed me on the road. The biggest challenge was finding a place to pull over. There was absolutely no shoulder and the grasses and weeds grew right up to the pavement. Being in a rental car, I did not want to chance getting stuck or hit on my very first point of the day.
I decided to pull in perpendicular to the road in what appeared to be a little used and overgrown lane leading to a little used paddock for cattle. I took my chances that nobody would be needing to pull in here for the next hour. Having grand goals of visiting at least 5 points today, I wasted no time gathering supplies and setting forth. I had anticipated this being the easiest confluence of the day, but immediately found that it wouldn't be the case. The terrain was flat enough, but the vegetation was about waist high, and I was a bit nervous about waking up a snake at this hour of the day. Fortunately, after 10 minutes, the vegetation thinned out a bit. Interstate Highway 40 was straight ahead and I could see the trucks heading east on it. I have a lot of respect for truckers. In some ways they are the real geographers, not me. The land that had once been an agricultural field that I was walking on dropped into a shallow basin dotted by large mesquite and other trees, which did not look like it had ever been in cropland. I angled toward the northwest. After about 25 minutes walk from my starting point, I arrived at the confluence.
The confluence lies on flat land at the north end of a large stand of scraggly mesquite and other trees and shrubs. I had to lean my body into this grove and it was difficult to zero out the unit, but I eventually did so. It was just about 9:00am in late summer--early September--a magnificent time to be outside in New Mexico. Being in a small basin, the views were limited from the point but still it was good to be here. I had visited 35 North several times in the past, from California on the west to North Carolina on the east. My treks to 106 West had been fewer--from Wyoming on the north to Colorado to one degree north of here in New Mexico, I had only stood on this meridian perhaps 7 times. It was wonderful to be here. One has to admire the folks in Moriarty, making a living here on the flat lands of central New Mexico. The area was settled originally by the Moriarty family from Iowa for cattle ranching in the late 1800s, and in 1937, US 66 was routed through town. Now, it is I-40 that brings the most people into town, I-40 being one of the longest interstate highways in the USA, running from California to North Carolina. Given my goals of the day, I spent only 20 or so minutes at the site. I saw no people, fortunately no snakes; just the traffic on the interstate highway.
I hiked partly back the way I had come in, but this time a bit more southerly at first and then to the southeast, for a bit of variety: Geographers usually like to take a different way and to make a circle out of most hikes; at least I do. Near the road to the south was a horizontal pole, from which hung two skulls or hides from an animal. I didn't get too close but took a photograph. I reached the vehicle intact after about one hour and 10 minutes round trip hike and visit time.
It was a great morning and I had some great moments at this site. Get out there and explore the world!