the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Oklahoma

10.5 miles (16.9 km) NW of Vinson, Harmon, OK, USA
Approx. altitude: 562 m (1843 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 35°S 80°E

Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Daphne at the confluence #3: The GPS readout #4: Looking east from the confluence #5: Looking south from the confluence #6: Looking west from the confluence #7: View of the confluence area from about 500 feet away

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#1: Looking north from the confluence

(visited by Tim Vasquez, Jim LaDue and Daphne Zaras)

28-Oct-2001 -- We left Norman, Oklahoma, arriving in desolate, rocky rangeland on the Texas-Oklahoma border. A mile south of the confluence the road wound around an abandoned farmhouse with vintage-1940s pickup trucks rusting in the front yard. The road then led north across a shallow gully, bringing us to our closest approach to the confluence half a mile to our east. We parked and I left a "no assistance needed" letter on the windshield. As I did this, though, I realized the note would go insane from boredom until we got back. The only signs of human activity for miles were the dense crisscrosses of jet contrails above, marking swarms of people spending their Sunday afternoon on a LAX-ATL or SEA-DFW flight, oblivious to the no-man's land below while immersed in some combination of sleep, reading, peanuts, sodas, or inflight movies.

The absence of sound and the stiff south wind blanketed the countryside in complete tranquility. We slipped underneath a cattle fence and begin hiking directly east along the south face of a hill. The walk was quite easy, taking us through a continuous carpet of yellowish sagebrush, tall stalks of faded gayfeather flowers, and occasional stubs of prickly pear. We could see an abandoned two-story house in the creek bottom about a quarter mile to the south, which may have been occupied as recently as ten years ago. To its west and across the creek was a large herd of cows around a windmill-powered watering trough. Although they noticed us and there were probably a few bulls among them, their half-mile distance gave us an excellent margin of safety. They watched us and mooed occasionally across the valley.

As expected from the TerraServer maps, the confluence hunt brought us out of rolling slopes and into the same creek mentioned above. The creek was only two feet wide, but frequent rainstorms and centuries of erosion had carved out a rocky hollow oriented southwest-northeast, about 40 feet deep and 250 feet wide. In spite of the extremely dry weather this creek had running water and was lined with beautiful green grass as well as some cottonwood and mesquite trees, making it a beautiful linear oasis. Flanking the creek were outcroppings of eroded sandstone, Permian limestone, dolomite, and anhydrite laced with gypsum crystals. With my GPS urging me on another ten feet, I stepped across the trickling brook onto the southeast side. A very short climb brought us to the confluence spot on a rocky slope at the base of a four-foot mesquite tree.

Unbelievably, such a cardinal confluence contained no evidence of anyone having been here. The view was impressive, a sentiment echoed several times by Jim, and a picnic at the confluence would have been a perfect finish to the quest. After the obligatory photos, we built a ten-inch cairn out of anhydrite at the cnfluence. We then scurried up the south rock face to check for a nearby state boundary marker (somewhere along the NAD27 meridian), but having left my USGS maps at the car I had no idea how far we needed to go, and decided to abandon the attempt. We then returned to the car uneventfully, taking a slightly more southerly return route.

What an excellent and secluded confluence! Special credit goes to Daphne for identifying the gayfeather (liatrus) flowers we saw.

 All pictures
#1: Looking north from the confluence
#2: Daphne at the confluence
#3: The GPS readout
#4: Looking east from the confluence
#5: Looking south from the confluence
#6: Looking west from the confluence
#7: View of the confluence area from about 500 feet away
ALL: All pictures on one page