25-Feb-2001 -- On Sunday morning February 25, 2001, Brian and I were carried swiftly
westward on US 60 by Dale in his 1990 Civic, which boasts the lowest
clearance of any normal passenger car in Socorro. Our goal: a spot in
far Western New Mexico, where the 34N parallel intersects the 109W
It started 10 days earlier when an e-mail from my Swedish friend
Steven Jörsäter alerted me to confluence.org. I found out that
slightly under 50% of the New Mexico confluences were still up for
grabs, including the whole series on the 109th meridian, a couple of
miles east of and parallel to the Arizona state line. Closest to us
in Socorro (which itself lies very close to
34N 107W) was 34N 109W;
most of it an easy drive along US Hwy 60. Things heated up when we
read that the Gordons from Arizona had just taken care of the 32N
109W, and were planning further conquests. We had to be there first.
An easy drive along reasonable dirt roads which in the early morning
were frozen hard took us within 2 miles of our spot. All we had to do
was to follow the 109 meridian due south and the coveted prize would
be ours. To our surprise there was an old logging road going in the
same direction; but at over 8000 feet there was a lot of snow and we
had to resort to bushwhacking to avoid the worst of it.
Due to a slight hitch in my otherwise perfect compass reading we took
a slight detour, but after 1.5 hours we reached the spot. There was
quite some tree cover, and the GPS had to work hard at it, but we
ended up locating the exact spot, and marked it with a small cairn.
The spot hardly does justice to the beautiful Western New Mexico
scenery: it lies on a slope, and all around the view is blocked by
The way back was both easier as we went downhill and more difficult as
the sun had started to thaw the soil and we had trouble with our
footing because of the mud. Once at the car, we almost got stuck
several times, and we were happy to finally reach US 60 again with a
car caked with mud. After a late lunch with green chili ham- and
cheeseburgers at the Largo restaurant in Quemado, another two hours
saw us back in Socorro.
Are we going for more? Probably not. Better concentrate on the 50 US
state high points again.
Gustaaf van Moorsel