the Degree Confluence Project

United States : New Mexico

12.4 miles (20.0 km) ENE of Nutrioso (AZ), Catron, NM, USA
Approx. altitude: 2679 m (8789 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 34°S 71°E

Quality: good

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

#2: Dale at the cairn marking 34N 109W #3: Gustaaf at the cairn marking 34N 109W #4: There can be no doubt now: we're there!

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  34°N 109°W (visit #1)  

#1: Brian at the cairn marking the spot

(visited by Gustaaf van Moorsel, Brian Glendenning and Dale Frail)

25-Feb-2001 -- On Sunday morning February 25, 2001, Brian and I were carried swiftly westward on US 60 by Dale in his 1990 Civic, which boasts the lowest clearance of any normal passenger car in Socorro. Our goal: a spot in far Western New Mexico, where the 34N parallel intersects the 109W meridian.

It started 10 days earlier when an e-mail from my Swedish friend Steven Jörsäter alerted me to confluence.org. I found out that slightly under 50% of the New Mexico confluences were still up for grabs, including the whole series on the 109th meridian, a couple of miles east of and parallel to the Arizona state line. Closest to us in Socorro (which itself lies very close to 34N 107W) was 34N 109W; most of it an easy drive along US Hwy 60. Things heated up when we read that the Gordons from Arizona had just taken care of the 32N 109W, and were planning further conquests. We had to be there first.

An easy drive along reasonable dirt roads which in the early morning were frozen hard took us within 2 miles of our spot. All we had to do was to follow the 109 meridian due south and the coveted prize would be ours. To our surprise there was an old logging road going in the same direction; but at over 8000 feet there was a lot of snow and we had to resort to bushwhacking to avoid the worst of it.

Due to a slight hitch in my otherwise perfect compass reading we took a slight detour, but after 1.5 hours we reached the spot. There was quite some tree cover, and the GPS had to work hard at it, but we ended up locating the exact spot, and marked it with a small cairn. The spot hardly does justice to the beautiful Western New Mexico scenery: it lies on a slope, and all around the view is blocked by trees.

The way back was both easier as we went downhill and more difficult as the sun had started to thaw the soil and we had trouble with our footing because of the mud. Once at the car, we almost got stuck several times, and we were happy to finally reach US 60 again with a car caked with mud. After a late lunch with green chili ham- and cheeseburgers at the Largo restaurant in Quemado, another two hours saw us back in Socorro.

Are we going for more? Probably not. Better concentrate on the 50 US state high points again.

Gustaaf van Moorsel

 All pictures
#1: Brian at the cairn marking the spot
#2: Dale at the cairn marking 34N 109W
#3: Gustaaf at the cairn marking 34N 109W
#4: There can be no doubt now: we're there!
ALL: All pictures on one page