03-Mar-2001 -- I hadn't planned attempting a confluence today. I'm in Idaho
visiting a friend and was trying to find an easy one to visit with my
friend while I'm here. What I found out is nothing is easy for a
Mississippi boy in Idaho in the winter. It rarely snows in Mississippi
and when it does, it usually melts away pretty fast. You can always walk
around in it and play in it if you want to. Not here. I went hiking
yesterday and got off the trail of packed snow and waded through snow
about a metre deep. That will wear you out in a hurry if you're a lard
butt like me. Anyway, back to the confluence.
I drove towards the one at 44ºN 111ºW, which is in Wyoming, not
Idaho, but it's the closest un-visited confluence to my friend's house.
I had looked at the aerial photos the night before and I was fairly
certain that I couldn't make it anywhere near the spot this time of
year. One would need a snowmobile and snowshoes to do it and I have
neither. But I didn't have anything to do with myself, so I figured it
would be a nice drive at least. I was awe struck by the beauty of the
landscapes I saw. I had to pull over several times and just soak it all
in. The rolling high plains covered in snow with the mountains as a
backdrop had me gawking like a country boy does at skyscrapers the first
time he visits a city.
Along the way I saw a Historic Marker on the side of the road and
stopped to read it. It said, "TETON FLOOD. When Teton Dam suddenly
was washed away, June 5, 1976, a large reservoir (280 feet deep) was
dumped on farms and towns below. Houses floated away and crop land was
ruined as water surged into Snake River and American Falls Reservoir,
which finally controlled that flood. Church, government, and disaster
relief agencies responded effectively, but 14 lives were lost and
hundreds of millions of dollars in damages resulted in that
unforgettable calamity. All that remains of Teton Dam can be seen from a
viewpoint 1.5 miles north of here." So I drove the 1.5 miles north
to check out the infamous dam and take some photos.
I continued making my way toward the confluence at a leisurely pace,
stopping along the way to take more photos. I made it as far as I could
go and was still over 10 miles away from the spot. You can see how deep
the snow is on the unplowed road that leads toward the confluence in the
photo. The sky looked like it was going to snow, so I headed back. The
road I was on was plowed, but not very well.
So this confluence is an open chapter. I know it was a halfhearted
attempt, but I knew what I was up against when I decided to go. Someone
with a snowmobile will have to try or wait until the spring. I thought
confluences in Mississippi were tough because of the briars. Snow, ice,
and freezing weather will kill you. Briars won't. I'm going to get some
snowshoes and attempt another confluence before I leave Idaho.