the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Colorado

16.8 miles (27.1 km) SW of Loma, Mesa, CO, USA
Approx. altitude: 1781 m (5843 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 39°S 71°E

Accuracy: 3 m (9 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: View to the north #3: View to the east #4: View to the south #5: View to the west #6: Zeroed out #7: View south toward Kings Canyon from the road before plunging in

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  39°N 109°W (visit #6)  

#1: View of the confluence grove looking north and a bit upward toward the pink canyon rim behind

(visited by Gavin Roy)

19-Nov-2014 -- I arrived at this pull-off at 7:30pm the previous night after having visited 39N 108W on the Grand Mesa. My plan was to park and sleep here at this last bit of BLM land before Mountain Island Ranch property begins. The confluence lies on BLM land in Kings Canyon but is best accessed from the ranch road, which crosses into and out of BLM land two more times as it winds its way west for six miles. With my wife and two friends, we had previously attempted to hike to the point directly across BLM land alone (as opposed to the road). Not only was the terrain we traversed incredibly strenuous, but we also ended up getting turned back early when we spooked three moose who nearly barreled right over us in a narrow canyon.

Needless to say, I was apprehensive but excited about the journey the following morning as I laid out my sleeping bag in the back of the Jeep, ate a light dinner, and read until I fell asleep. The night was cold and I woke up several times after not a few vivid confluence dreams, including a nightmare of a knife-wielding rancher tapping on the back left window of the Jeep with a flashlight (I slept with my own Browning knife flipped open the rest of the night) and an even more terrifying nightmare of not being able to reach the confluence yet again.

I finally awoke at 4:45am to an incredibly starry sky and a temperature of 13°F. I packed up my stuff, prepared my bike I had brought, and then waited in the front seat of the car (heater and butt-warmer going off and on) until the civil twilight made it bright enough to see outlines, eating a small breakfast and reading to pass the time. I was hoping to do two other confluences today in the short daylight, hence my earliness. My GPS unit told me sunrise was at 7:02am, and by 6:13am the illumination reached a satisfactory level and I was off. My fingers were numb despite gloves and handwarmers as I braked down several pebbly and sandy inclines, opening several unmarked gates along the way. I was thankful for the wider gravel tires I had put on my road bike, and also thankful that it was a very gradual downhill to get to the entrance of Kings Canyon. Crow-flying distance from where I had parked was 2.58mi, but I would estimate that I biked about four miles north and west on the road until reaching the canyon. I saw many a fleeting mule deer and even some wild turkeys but no cows and, especially gratefully, no moose.

The canyon’s entrance is not BLM land, but I found a small two-track trail that led south toward the confluence that I was able to bike on until reaching a dry creek bed. Here I ditched my bike and began jogging, quickly reaching the barbed wire fence that signified the start of BLM land and ducking under it. Ahead of me I saw four elk, which spooked and headed southeast in the exact direction I was also planning to go. I never saw another trace of them. The creek bed continues winding its way southeast toward the point and was perfect to follow. Day broke and I reached the confluence not ten minutes later, pink light just starting to show on the tips of the red canyon rims all around. I had jogged for about a mile.

The confluence itself sits just off the creek bed in a stand of scrubby conifers. I should have done as Shawn Fleming did and taken my area pictures from a few yards south so as to give a better vantage of the areal vista, but alas my pictures are close-ups of trees and thus pretty uninformative. It was truly incredible, spiritual, to be in this canyon so early on such a crisp morning. I was exhilarated. After zeroing out, taking pictures (although forgetting a selfie), and a few minutes of silent appreciation, I headed out the exact way I came. I found my bike without a problem and biked back, this time expending a little more effort on the gentle upward incline. My hands were warmer with the increased bloodflow and the first rays of sunlight. I arrived back at the car at 8:23am, two hours and ten minutes after beginning. After dismantling my bike to put it in the back, I voiced a wild YES (complete with fist pump) as I drove away toward my next stop, 38N 108W, thankful that I had finally managed to complete this elusive confluence.

 All pictures
#1: View of the confluence grove looking north and a bit upward toward the pink canyon rim behind
#2: View to the north
#3: View to the east
#4: View to the south
#5: View to the west
#6: Zeroed out
#7: View south toward Kings Canyon from the road before plunging in
ALL: All pictures on one page