14-May-2021 -- As the COVID situation precluded travel for so many months, and as a geographer I was longing to get into the field, I was glad when the opportunity finally arose. I trekked into the field in May 2021 to visit confluences, back roads, state lines, grain bins, railroad depots, city parks with metal slides, road signs, state parks, and other out of the way places that a geographer would love. The day before this visit, I left Colorado and visited two points on 38 North in Kansas, and one on 37 North on the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Today was Day 2 of my wanderings and earlier today I had visited 38 North 96 West in the Flint Hills. The route from 38N 96W to 38N 95W took me through more wonderful back roads. I should have stopped at the Mildred General Store, because it just looked perfect and authentic. Maybe next time, but I was on a quest for 4 points today. Southwest of my destination of 38 N 95 W, I turned north on a gravel road, but passable in a rental car, and then east on a worse condition but still passable road. This last road was a truly lonely tree-lined track. Good thing I don't read that many mysteries because it looked like something straight out of a mystery novel and where someday they could find my body. It had a completely different mood than the sunny uplands I had just passed through as it was rather gloomy and overgrown. An abandoned trailer to the north and some gnarled fences added to the mood. My goal was to park where this road turned from due east to due north along the section line. It turned out to be the ideal plan, because the hike started with a short meandering around a metal gate and into the field to the southeast, back into the sunshine, beyond.
After a hike of only 10 minutes, first due east and then due south to avoid tramping on any plants, I arrived at the confluence point. Unlike the grasslands and hills earlier today to 38 North 96 West, this one was, at least last season, a cornfield. There didn't appear to be anything planted here yet but there may have been the beginnings of soybean plants peeping through the bare earth. So, to be safe and not trample anything, I walked between the rows. I skirted the field on the north end, then I entered the field right on the 95th Meridian, and walked due south. The temperature stood at about 85 F under breezy but sunny skies: Early afternoon, mid-late spring. I saw no birds, animals, or people. All was still except the wind.
There had been two previous visits to this point; the last was 4 years ago. I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood on this parallel from California on the west to Virginia on the east. I had also stood on this meridian, numerous times, from Iowa on the north to Texas on the south. I now have a respectable assortment of at least 3/4 and maybe 7/8 of all the confluences in the great state of Kansas. Rock Chalk! There are just a few on 40 North and 37 North that I am missing. With this visit, I now have all the points on 38 and 39 North in Kansas. I thought about the Native Americans and pioneer settlers who have crossed this piece of ground. Had anyone actually stood on this spot before the confluence visitors, or the landowner? After a few minutes, I received a phone call while standing on the site, and once again it struck me how connected we can be, even in remote areas, nowadays.
After spending about 10 minutes on site, I made my departure. I placed the video of this site on my Our Earth channel, here: 38 North 95 West. If you would like to relive the road near the confluence, search my same channel for gravel roads in Kansas or go directly to here. I drove west and then south on gravel to the main east-west road to the south, which I then took east. Shortly thereafter, I passed through a town with a city park full of wonderful old playground equipment, including a real metal slide. Again I wished I could have stopped but I was on a beeline for what I hoped would be two more points on 38 North today, at 94 West and then at 93 West. It was already midafternoon. Would I make it?
Get out there and explore the world.