the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Oregon

3.9 miles (6.3 km) SW of Silvies, Grant, OR, USA
Approx. altitude: 1498 m (4914 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 44°S 61°E

Quality: good

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

#2: Sagebrush at exact confluence. #3: GPS #4: Looking East from confluence point. #5: Wil and Gil standing on confluence

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  44°N 119°W (visit #1)  

#1: View of Confluence Site

(visited by Gil Roberts, Guy Roberts and Wil Roberts)

04-May-2001 -- Having learned of the Confluence Project several weeks ago in a USA Today article we soon checked out the web site and found one as yet “un-visited” confluence that immediately caught our eye. Although we live in Western Oregon in the lush Willamette Valley near the City of Salem, our family has long enjoyed spending time in Eastern Oregon on our family ranch in Harney County some 30 or so miles north of the town of Burns. The ranch is several miles nearly due east of the N 44.00 W119.00 confluence and it seemed like a natural one for us to seek out.

Leaving Salem at 4:00 AM on Friday May 4, 2001 we headed east on US Highway 20 over the Cascade Mountains into Central Oregon through the bustling City of Bend and on across the Oregon High Desert to the relaxed town of Burns. Unlike much of Western and Central Oregon, most of Eastern Oregon has avoided the influx of character changing population growth over the past two decades. Hard working cattle ranchers and loggers still dominate much of the sparsely populated landscape in this arid part of Oregon.

Luckily it was a cool clear morning as we crossed the high desert plateau between Bend and Burns and like always we saw a number of deer and antelope (playing) grazing in the sagebrush and alfalfa. Reaching Burns at about 8:30 AM we picked up necessary grub and supplies at the Sentry Market and headed north towards “our” confluence. If you don’t already have one you should pick up a Malheur National Forest map at the local U.S. Forest Service office. You’re gonna’ need it.

Just north of downtown Burns, Highways 20 & 395 split apart. Highway 20 continues east towards Idaho and Highway 395 heads towards the City of John Day some 70 miles north. Take a left (north) on Highway 395 and proceed approximately 13 miles to a point where you’ll enter the Malheur National Forest boundary. Another seven or eight miles more and you exit the forest boundary into the beautiful Silvies Valley. This marshy valley is about five miles wide and 20 or so miles long and it garners its name from a river named in the early 1800’s for the fur trapper Antoine Sylvaille (thus Silvies) who found the area “very rich with beaver”.

After traveling a total of 23 miles from Burns or some four miles after leaving the Malhuer Forest boundary turn LEFT (west) off the highway on National Forest Road #3145. This turnoff is near Trout Creek. Nfd #3145 is a graveled public roadway that passes through various private ownerships and eventually re-enters the National Forest. Continue on “Nfd #3145” some 8.8 miles to a dirt spur road on the right at N43° 59.657’ – W119° 00.550’. If you get to “Jack Andy Creek” you’ve gone too far. Go back up the hill near the top of the ridge and check your GPS position.

This spur road near this ridge top is a good place to park and then navigate on foot with your GPS in a northeasterly direction approximately 0.5 miles to the confluence. You may be able to actually drive a bit closer to the confluence on other nearby roads, but if you check the topography maps you’ll find that this take off point offers the most gentle grade in and out. Remember the elevation is over 5,000 feet and even small hills can seem a lot steeper in the thin air. Give yourself about an hour out and back and carry some water with you.

Please note: Roads in the area can be pretty treacherous with a sticky slick muddy “gumbo” after the permafrost leaves in the spring. Make sure the roads are dry before you try it.

Be careful with fire and above all tell somebody where you’re going and when you’re supposed to be back.

 All pictures
#1: View of Confluence Site
#2: Sagebrush at exact confluence.
#3: GPS
#4: Looking East from confluence point.
#5: Wil and Gil standing on confluence
ALL: All pictures on one page