29-May-2023 -- It had been two years since I had the opportunity to take a multi day trip just for collecting confluence points, seeing the landscape, and meeting local people. My goal was to connect my Minnesota points to the points east and south and west, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. To fill those gaps would require some planning but could be quite fun and doable. Thus after flying to Sioux Falls three days earlier and visiting 3 points, then 5 points on Day 2, and 4 points on Day 3, I still had plenty of energy for the final day - Day 4.
And thus after awakening at 5:30am and having a lovely campground walk near the lakes and in the trees, and visiting 47 North 96 West, early this morning, it was still only a bit after 8:00am. Therefore I decided to drive as straight west as possible, across the Red River, from Minnesota to North Dakota. I crossed the river and went under I-29 at Harwood, there taking a very bumpy gravel road to the north, and then west along Road 32 to the north of the point. At 165th Ave SE, I turned south and parked near a low spot in the field where some drainage could occur. I gathered supplies and set out to the east.
I could not believe it: To the north, in this same field, I saw agricultural equipment planting or gathering; given the season, I suspected the former. Should I continue? I decided to continue, walking east to 97 West, and then north to the point, avoiding stepping on any plant life, although the corn stalks on the ground looked like from the previous growing season. After about 20 minutes from the vehicle, I reached the site. There were no fences and nobody working in the field to the north of me came over to ask what I was doing. Even so, I kept my visit brief. The sun was up but there was wind and haze. It was a beautiful time of day and year in North Dakota: Mid-morning, late spring. The point lies on flat ground and the best view is off to the northwest. The temperature stood at about 81 F or 27 C; very pleasant; very windy as it was to be expected. I saw no animals or birds. Some farmhouses can be seen from the point. This was the Red River plain--indeed, some of the flattest land in all of North America!
I have visited 47° north only a few times before, from Montana on the west to two points that were east of here in Minnesota. Each of these points at 47 North that I have visited are unique and wonderful. I have also visited 97° west several times in the past from this point on the north end of that line, on down to a boat ride southeast of Texas on the south end on the Gulf of Mexico. The points along 97 were even more varied. It was amazing that I was the first visitor to this spot in North Dakota in 19 years. I was on site for about 13 minutes. Due to the wind, I removed my map hat and placed it in my pocket so it wouldn't blow all the way to Canada. I took photos and video, and placed my video here:
47 North 97 West.
On my walk back to the vehicle I thought about the indigenous people who have traversed these lands for centuries and about the settlers of the 1800s with their wagons, many having arrived from Europe or the eastern USA, and encountering these vast skies and plans for the first time. These were all hardy souls--they do experience all seasons out here - freezing cold, blistering heat, wind...
Given the name of the town to the south, Prosper, I should have driven there and taken a picture of me doing a "live long and prosper" sign with my hand at the city limits. About 10 houses seemed to be there according to the satellite image. However, since it was still just after 10:00am, I decided instead to squeeze in one more confluence visit, to 47 North 98 West. Could I make it before my flight out of the region? There was only one way to find out...
When the trip was all said and done, here are the final statistics:
Confluence points attempted: 15.
Confluence points successfully visited: 15.
Points where I met the local landowner = 4 of 15 points.
Miles = 1731, Kilometers = 2785.
Campgrounds = 3.
Windy confluence points: 6 of 15.
Beautiful confluence points: 15 of 15.
Kwik Trip convenience store stops = 5. Casey's = 1. Circle K = 1. Flying J = 1.
Points along 43 North 4
44 North 3
45 North 4
46 North 1
47 North 3
Points visited on Day 1 = 3
Day 2 = 5
Day 3 = 4
Day 4 = 3
Points visited in the morning = 5
afternoon = 7
evening = 3
Points visited in Minnesota = 6
North Dakota = 2
Wisconsin = 3
Iowa = 4
Get out there and explore!