First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.”
I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.
To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2320; A Landing A Day blog post number 751.
Here’s my local landing map:
My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the East Fork of the Pasayten River (1st hit ever!); on to the Pasayten (1st hit ever!). You can see that a drop of water that falls on my landing heads on up into Canada.
Zooming back a little:
The Pasayten discharges to the Similkameen (1st hit ever!), which heads north but then loops back south towards the good ol’ US of A, where it discharges to the Okanogan River (2nd hit).
Zooming back again, you can see that the Okanogan makes its way to the Columbia (165th hit):
So, it’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight into N-Cen Washington. Click HERE, enjoy the ride, and hit your back button.
Here’s an oblique GE shot of my landing, looking east (up the valley of the East Fork of the Pasayten River):
And another, looking west.
I landed so far out in the boonies, there is no Street View coverage anywhere close. In fact, I had to go well into Canada to get my closest look at one of my watershed streams:
And this is the Orange Dude’s view of the Similkameen:
Because many of my readers may be short-term memory-challenged, here’s my local landing map once again. Just for reference (and to show you how far in the boonies I am), it’s about 40 miles from Newhalem to Mazama:
I think I’ll start with that devilishly-named town, Diablo. From Wiki:
The community, which is located on the Skagit River near the Diablo Dam, was established as a company town by Seattle City Light, the builder of the dam and associated hydro-electric plant.
Peculiar, don’t you think, to name a company town after the devil? Oh, well.
There were two flat spots along the Skagit River downstream from the dam. Here’s an oblique GE shot, showing North Diablo and South Diablo (named as such by yours truly), the dam and the lake:
It’s a beautiful area (as you can tell); here are some GE Pano shots in the immediate Diablo vicinity, starting with on by JSGottwald:
Here’s a view of North Diablo, by jerpencz:
And then this, by Michael Taschka:
Moving downstream a few miles, we hit Newhalem. Here’s an oblique shot:
Newhalem is also a company town – same company, different project (the Gorge Dam with a hydroelectric plant). Wiki tells us that Newhalem was named after a Skagit Indian word for Goat Snare.
Goat’s Snare? I love it! It must have been one helluva goat’s snare for it to make it all the way to the white guys who decided what to name the town . . .
Wiki also had this to say:
The writer Tobias Wolff lived in Newhalem as a boy in the late 1950s, after his mother married a mechanic who lived in one of the company houses. In his memoir book, This Boy’s Life, he calls this isolated settlement “Chinook” (instead of Newhalem) and describes how the nearest high school was a long bus ride away (about 40 miles), in a slightly larger hamlet called Concrete (which actually exists).
In the 1993 film version of This Boy’s Life, starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, the two places are combined and called “Concrete.”
Both the book and the film were very positively received by critics. I will definitely be checking out both. And how about DeNiro and DiCaprio? Quite the cast, eh? My reviews will come along when they come along.
So there’s still one titular town not yet discussed: Mazama. From Wiki:
In the 19th century the town was called “Goat Creek”, after a creek at the base of nearby Goat Peak. When a post office was secured in 1899, the settlers chose the name “Mazama,” which they thought was Greek for “mountain goat”. They later discovered that they had looked in the wrong dictionary and, according to Edmond S. Meany, the meaning of “Mazama” was “mountain goat” in Spanish, not Greek.
Locally, the name is pronounced to rhyme with “Alabama”:
Now wait a second. The residents thought that Mazama was Greek for mountain goat, but they looked in the wrong dictionary? This doesn’t even come close to passing the ALAD straight-faced test! In fact, I’m going to go all the way and declare the above to be a classic piece of Wikipedia “absolute fiction.”
After a little bit of internet research, I learned that Mazama is a genus of South and Central American Deer. Not goat. And, the name comes from the Aztec (more correctly, the Nahuatl, but certainly not the Spanish) word for this particular type of deer. The most common species of Mazama deer are known as Brockets. From Wiki:
Brockets or brocket deer are the common species of deer in the genus Mazama. They are medium to small in size, and are found in the Yucatán Peninsula, Central and South America, and the island of Trinidad.
Here’s pic, from ArthurGrosset.com:
So Mazama needs a new name origin story. And I, sole contributor to A Landing A Day, have come up with this:
The small community of Goat Creek just received the word that they were about to get a post office. They almost settled on the existing town name, but thought they should come up with something classier than Goat Creek.
Goat Creek was named because of numerous mountain goats that lived in the vicinity.
They called a Town Council meeting to select a new name. Samuel Leufkens was the most educated (and best traveled) of the group, and was called upon to come up with some ideas.
Sam recalled that as a young man, he was quite adventurous, and had traveled to the Yucatan to explore Aztec ruins.
He told the Council that he remembered seeing some wild goats that lived up in the Mexican mountains. One of his travel group was quite the naturalist, who explained that the animals were technically deer, even though they appeared somewhat goat-like. His naturalist friend was also aware that these deer were named Mazama. Although he wasn’t sure of the word origin, he assumed it was Spanish.
After telling his story to the assembled group, he said, “Our local mountain goats look pretty much like a Mazama, so what do you say we call our town Mazama?
Most agreed, although one gentleman (a local ne’er-do-well, Peter Miller), said “I don’t give a damn – it’s all Greek to me.”
“Excellent idea, Mr. Miller!” said Edna, the town Clerk who was responsible for the meeting minutes.
Peter, who had never been known to have an excellent idea his entire life (and was rarely accorded the respect of being addressed as ‘Mr. Miller’) asked incredulously, “What’s an excellent idea?”
“Well,” replied Edna, “Greek is much classier than Spanish, so I think that my minutes will simply reflect that our new name, “Mazama,” is Greek for mountain goat.”
No formal vote was necessary, as murmurs of ascension were heard from the entire group (except Peter, who was still reeling from being complemented for having an excellent idea).
I hope that someone from the modern Mazama Town Council reads the above, and at a Council meeting, it is moved and passed that the above be the official story of how the town was named (and then someone changes Wikipedia).
It’s time for some GE Pano shots in the vicinity of my landing (all within 10 miles). I’ll start with this shot of the US-Canada border, by CTurchak:
(I never realized that the border is a swath through the woods – with no fence).
And this, of the headwaters of my watershed river, the Pasayten, a ways upstream from where the East Fork joins in:
I’ll close with this spectacular shot by SDay:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2017 A Landing A Day