08-May-2016 -- As I had been working on a geospatial technology education project with colleagues, and as we had been meeting at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect capstone. After our meetings ended, I drove east on I-70 past the turnoff to Ellsworth, to the exit on 290th Road. The sky was dark and I hoped I would have a dry hike. I drove due north to just south of the Saline River. The road condition worsened but fortunately no rain was muddying the track. I turned west, just to the south of the trees marking the riparian zone along the river. I parked to the northeast of the confluence with a straight line distance showing 1,000 feet to the point. I gathered supplies and set off.
Fortunately, nothing had yet been planted in this field, so I did not need to worry about stepping on some new grain. The corn crop from last year was still partly here, with some stalks left on the ground, and others still standing. I hiked due west along the road and then due south to the point, reaching it in less than 10 minutes. This was definitely one of the easier confluence points I had visited. Just before reaching the point, the land dips to a shallow basin that was still partly muddy from recent spring rains.
The confluence lies therefore in a low depression, about 100 meters wide by 20 meters across, on the south end of the field. The depression was about 2 meters deep and I could still barely see the road to the north, and off to the northeast, my vehicle. I had stood on 39 degrees north many times, for indeed it was my most visited line of latitude. I have stood on it from California on the west to Maryland on the east, at least 20 times. Less common was my standing on 98 West, but I have done so from Texas on the south to Oklahoma on the north. I have over the past 15 years accumulated many visits to Kansas confluences. With this point, I now have an unbroken string of confluence points along 39 North from 109 West to 94 West - 16 points in all. This point is a peaceful one, and a beautiful one. I saw no people or animals and almost no birds. I could see one house -- off to the west-southwest. It was about noon in the middle of spring. The temperature stood at about 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) under a moderate breeze with the rain moving off to the southeast; indeed; the remainder of the day would be sunny.
There are many confluence point visits that turn out more difficult than I anticipate they will be. This one turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I was back to the vehicle in about 35 minutes round trip, including 15 minutes at the confluence point itself. I stopped to video and photograph myself in the cornfield on the walk back to the vehicle. Once back at the vehicle, and wanting to see a different part of Kansas on the way back to Colorado, instead of going back to I-70, from the point, I stairstepped north and west along county roads, then followed state highway 18, and then US Highway 24. Arriving at Colby, I followed I-70 and only encountered one brief but intense thunderstorm, just across the state line in Colorado, which I thought was good fortune for the thunderstorm prone season here in early May. Indeed, it was a grand confluence visit and I was thankful I was able to do it.