23-Nov-2002 -- When I first read Russ Irwin's (previous visitor) report of his visit to this confluence and his statement that it is "quite possibly the most remote and difficult to reach in the state of Nevada," I was skeptical. Having now been to every confluence in Nevada except the two that require either special equipment (a boat for 39N120W in the middle of Lake Tahoe) or special dispensation from the DOE (37N116W on the Nevada Test Site), I now concur. Our visit was remarkably similar to that reported by Mr. Irwin, albeit 15 months later.
Janice and I left Reno with the sole purpose of visiting 40N118W at about 9:00 AM. We drove east on I80 to Lovelock, NV. Just past Lovelock we turned right on Coal Canyon Road and entered the Antelope Valley. We, too, had some difficulty with navigation matching real roads with roads on the map, driving among the open pit mines on rocky 4WD paths in the desert. We finally made it to the 4WD (low range) path that took us up the canyon to within 1.5 miles of the confluence. We also saw numerous wild horses in 4 or 5 packs of 20 to 30 animals each as we made our way to this point. One of those groups (photo #4) was 50 yards or so from us where we parked Emma (my Explorer) to begin the hiking portion of our adventure.
It was about noon when we parked Emma so we got out the kitchen (table, chairs, food, etc) and had our lunch before continuing. We walked a little further on the road and then began the 1+ mile, 1500-foot elevation gain climb to the ridge atop the Stillwater Range where the confluence lay. At the top of the steep climb were a barbed wire fence and a broad relatively level expanse. The GPSR read all zeros (photo #5) about 50 yards further east near a large pinion pine tree. It was late in the short November day so I quickly took pictures looking south along the ridge edge (photo #1) and north (photo #2). Before stepping over the fence again and beginning the steep decent back to Emma, I snapped a photo (photo #3) of the Antelope Valley to the west, the direction from which we came. From above we could see the road we had intended to use to get to the base of the canyon on our approach. We found it after our descent to Emma and retreat down the canyon. Dusk was upon us as we reached Coal Canyon Road for our return to I80 and back home to Reno.
Unfortunately, between the lighting, my camera, and my scanner, the quality of the photos leave a lot to be desired. Maybe Santa will bring me a digital camera.