20-Jan-2004 -- I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer from the US Geological Survey in Colorado USA, and Bob Coulter, Education Specialist from the Missouri Botanical Garden in Missouri USA, visited Latitude 34 degrees North, Longitude 97 degrees West on a midwinter's day in extreme southern Oklahoma. Earlier that day, Bob and I landed at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, arriving in the area for the 16th annual GeoTech Conference. As the
conference's focus was on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and GPS in the educational curriculum, confluence hunting was the perfect way to begin a week of
working with geographical information. In addition, it gave Bob an opportunity to field test his new Navman software and GPS hardware running on an Ipaq hand-held
computer that uses ArcPad software from ESRI. ArcPad allows for entry of field-collected variables while displaying real-time coordinates on digital map layers.
After our visit to 33 North 97 West near the DFW airport, we trekked north along Interstate Highway 35, crossing the Oklahoma state line at the Red River at approximately 320pm local time. We exited the highway at Marietta, Oklahoma and stopped at the town's food store. Bob purchased a sandwich at the store for a low-low price of $1.49. As geographers, we enjoyed driving through the quiet streets of town eastward along State Highway 32. The terrain was rolling, with the low lying areas containing marshes along the estuaries of the Red River. At Enville, we turned north along a section-line road to a town identified by Mapquest as "Eville" but on the USGS topographic map as a second "Enville." There was nothing sinister or "evil"
whatsoever about the houses scattered about. After turning west along E2070 Road and south on N3373 Road, we were relieved to find that the gate leading to the track
continuing due south was open. At the end of this road stood a fairly new brick home identified as that of the Willis household. We noted that they were in the process of contructing a barn, but after finding nobody home, we strode through the back yard and crawled under an electric fence to a pasture. After walking due south for
approximately 100 meters, we arrived at the confluence just after 4pm local time. Because of the open field, we were quickly able to "zero out" both GPS units we had with us.
The confluence lies at 740 feet in elevation, a bit over halfway between the Willis home to the trees at the back of a pasture which had been used for cattle, on flat ground. The cleared field was
covered with coarse, dense grass of about 12 cm high. We saw a few birds but no people or wild animals. The air temperature was a mild 50 F under light clouds with a light breeze. This is Red River Valley country, which forms the border here between Oklahoma and Texas, and the confluence is not more than 10km from the Texas border. The area is
characterized by rolling prairie, some forested hills, sandy soils, with some cotton, peanuts, and vegetables grown. However, in the area of the confluence, almost no
cultivation could be noted. Most of the fields were used for cattle or not used at all. Very few of the homes were farmhouses, but rather, appeared to house people
living in the country because they chose to, working elsewhere. The Red River in this area is dammed to form Lake Texoma, a mecca for a large number of recreationalists at other times of the year. Bob and I both live in metropolitan areas (St Louis and Denver), we enjoyed a few hours in the rural environment, and were refreshed in knowing that not every part of the country has been paved over. However, the population and housing density was greater here than I had expected.
After Bob and I took the video and photographs, we walked back north and crawled under the electric fence at a different spot. This turned out to be the one wrong move of the confluence trek, as we became covered with thorny burrs. Every confluence has its unique challenges, and while this confluence is easier than most, we could have done without this part. Being adventuresome geographers, we took a different route back to north Texas, driving east from Enville on State Highway 32, and south on US 377,
picking burrs off of ourselves along the way.