the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Colorado

19.0 miles (30.6 km) W of Hiawatha, Moffatt, CO, USA
Approx. altitude: 2544 m (8346 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 41°S 71°E

Accuracy: 7 m (22 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: looking south #3: GPS screen #4: the wildfire #5: the swinging bridge #6: the confluence visitor #7: a small herd of wild horses I passed on Road 72

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  41°N 109°W (visit #2)  

#1: looking east

(visited by David Mower)

14-Aug-2003 -- I successfully located 41N 109W today. Here is the story.

I had been working in Vernal, Utah, the county seat of Uintah County, the one close to the lower NE corner of the state. I found myself with a little extra time, so naturally I thought about visiting a confluence. This one looked "do-able" even after reading the prior visitors’ report. I didn’t have four-wheel drive, but I did have a front-wheel drive touring car and my mountain bike. I spent some time checking electronic and paper maps. I was lucky enough to meet some local people who knew the area and gave me some good advice.

I drove east on US Highway 40 from Vernal, Utah until I reached Maybell, CO. This was south and quite a bit further east than I needed to be had I been the proverbial flying crow and flown through the air straight to the point. At Maybell I turned on to Colorado State Highway 318 (two-lane macadamized surface) that took me north and west toward the confluence. After several miles I turned north on Moffat County Road 10N (two-lane gravel, mostly 50-mile-per-hour) and later west on Moffat County Road 72.

Highway 318 had been lined with farms. Traffic was about 10 cars per hour. The farms disappeared when I reached County Road 10N and the traffic fell to about 5 cars per hour. The weather was partly cloudy and hot. Late July and early August is often the monsoon season in Utah (and I suppose in northwest Colorado.) This year was no exception, even though we are in a multi-year drought. Thunderclouds were building. I saw a lightning strike off to the north while on County Road 72.

Road 72 began as two-lane gravel, and then became one-lane gravel and then one-lane dirt. I passed one vehicle driving in the opposite direction in the entire length of the road. There were one or two old cabins but no other structures. The flora was sagebrush, quaking aspen and pinion pine. Soon I could see smoke rising from a wildfire, perhaps caused by the recent lightning. I kept expecting to have to park and bike or walk, but the only real obstacle I encountered was a barbed-wire gate bearing the sign "Please Close Gate". I passed through and drove on until the GPS said I was within 27 meters of the point. I parked and walked.

The confluence was next to a large pinion pine tree. The wildfire was on the next mountain peak to the north. I did the confluence dance until I saw the magical zeroes. I took photos. It started to rain.

I try very hard to avoid being on dirt roads in the rain. I returned quickly to the car and pulled forward about 10 meters to a turn-around spot. Another fence appeared with a barbed-wire gate. There were two signs, "Please Close Gate" and "Colorado – Wyoming Border". So this was the end of Moffat County Road 72. I didn’t pause for a photo, turned and left.

The rain was short-lived. After backtracking on Roads 72 and 10 I thought to make a loop and return to Vernal by a different route. I continued west on Colorado 318 to Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge on the Green River. A highway sign directed me towards Vernal, 50 miles, by way of the Swinging Bridge. This trip turned out to be an adventure in itself. The Bridge is an old one-lane suspension bridge that undulates when you drive on it. My heart was in my throat. Then a big part of the 50 miles was a fairly rutted and rough dirt road, slow driving, but I made it.

It was a great day! Thanks to the Degree Confluence Project for getting me out!

 All pictures
#1: looking east
#2: looking south
#3: GPS screen
#4: the wildfire
#5: the swinging bridge
#6: the confluence visitor
#7: a small herd of wild horses I passed on Road 72
ALL: All pictures on one page