11-Aug-2002 -- Having completed Saturday's GPS activities too late to try to get to 39N 115W, we had dinner in Ely and drove south on US 6 to latitude 39 North and turned east onto a desert dirt road to get far enough away from the highway as to not hear or see the passing vehicles. We set up camp for the night.
After breakfast and repacking Emma (my Explorer), we set out to find the confluence at 39N 115W. I had reviewed the map on the computer the previous night and knew that there were numerous tracks in the vicinity called "roads" on the map. I also knew from experience that the map did not distinguish between faint tracks in the desert and decent gravel roads. Reports of the three previous visits were not much help either since they all used different approaches with varying degrees of success. For these reasons, I set up full laptop navigation so we could at least always know where we were on the map. After visiting a very dry "Preston Reservoir" with an incomplete dam we couldn't cross, and a washed out road at Jake's wash, we finally found a passable road a bit south of latitude 39 North that got us successfully across the numerous washes to the east side of the valley and a road that took us back north towards the confluence. As we neared the confluence, we saw two dead cows that were now supplying food to other desert dwellers. We arrived at what probably was G. Horn's "fenced in field.....with grass better than my lawn at home." What we saw was a flat barren area with some golden dried plants. It's August now and he was here in June a year ago. In a view from the confluence looking east, Photo #1 shows this field with the White Pine range in the background. The GPSR indicated the zero point was about a quarter mile across this field so we entered the gate and drove in that direction. As it turns out, the fence on the west side of the field came before the zero point, so we exited at another gate on the west side onto a road alongside the fence and went back south until we were opposite the confluence. The desert being very flat and the sagebrush quite low, Emma easily took us right to the spot.
There appears to be some disagreement among the three previous visitors (all in the two month span between 21 May and 12 July of 2001) as to the precise location of this confluence. Visit #1 marked by the pink flag was 75 feet north of visit #2 marked by the wood stake and visit #3 was 100 yards west of both. I’ll have to go with G. Horn's (visit #2) location for the following "circumstantial" reason. About 12 feet (within the 13 foot Garmin EPE on my GPSR) from where my GPSR showed all zeros (photo #5) was a wood stake lying on the ground having broken off at ground level. Mr. Horn didn't leave his red bandana so I can't prove it was his, but that's my guess. I replaced his stake in the ground and it appears in photo #3 with me in a view looking south from the confluence. Photo #4 shows Jan at the confluence with Emma in a view also to the west. Photo #2 is looking to the north.
We had crossed what appeared to be a very good north-south gravel road on our traverse across the valley and our next destination was the next confluence south, so we backtracked only that far and easily returned to pavement between Preston and Lund on NV 318. So often the exit is so much easier and faster than the entrance because you've been there and can see where to go from first hand experience.