24-May-2016 -- One of the fun things about participating in this project is that sometimes a Degree Confluence point happens to exceed my expectations. I was not particularly enthusiastic about visiting this point, because I knew that it would involve a lot of scrambling up a steep hillside. But fortunately this was not as bad as I’d feared. And the point itself (and its surroundings) turned out to be spectacular; this is one point that I’ll remember for a long time to come.
There are two possible ways to approach this point. First, you could start from the John Day River (across a small bridge from highway 395) at 2750’ elevation. This would require 800 feet of climbing (and then descending), at a distance of 0.5 miles each way. Alternatively, you could drive to the top of the rim (on a narrow 4WD doubletrack) at 4000’ elevation, and then hike down the slope to reach the point. This would require 450 feet of descending (and then climbing), at a distance of only 0.2 miles each way. That is, starting from the top involves traversing a shorter, but steeper slope (and also requires driving up to the top of the rim, which requires a 4WD vehicle).
I chose to start from the top, both because I had a 4WD vehicle, and because I wanted to get a video from the top of the rim, using my remote-controlled quadcopter.
The point lies in an open, grassy section of the hillside. Unfortunately trees below block a view of the John Day River from the point (although it is visible from farther up).
Here is a remote-controlled aerial video of this confluence point.