A Landing a Day

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Summer Lake, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on January 19, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it blog), I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Dan –  After three USers, I guess I can’t complain about a solid OSer . . . OR; 75/64; 4/10; 1; 154.7. 

Ignorable minutiae alert – the following paragraph is eminently skippable:

You may have noted (but you probably did not), that the next-to-last number in the above string dropped from 14 last post to 1 this post.  As you may recall (but you probably don’t), that number refers to the ratio just before it; in this case 4/10.  4/10 refers to how many USers I’ve had of my last 10 landings.  I just ended a streak of 14 landings, where that ratio was 5/10 or higher.  Now, starting with 1, I’ll be tracking the number of consecutive posts where that ratio is 4/10 or lower.

 So anyway, here’s my regional landing map, showing I landed in south-central OR:

summer - landing 2

Here’s a closer-in view, showing my proximity to Summer Lake (the town), Summer Lake (the lake), Silver Lake (the town) and Silver Lake (the lake):

 summer - landing

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows an ill-defined arid landscape, with mysterious white spots:

 summer - GE1

Here’s a StreetView shot, with my landing about two miles to the right up on the plateau.

 summer - landing about 2 miles to the right up the hill

 Backing out quite a bit, this GE shot shows an incredible variety of landforms, colors and textures:

 summer - GE3

This oblique GE shot (looking south) shows Summer Lake, with what I assume to be Winter Ridge (based on Fremont’s quote, below in italics) looming over the lake:

 summer - GE2

I landed rather close to the watershed divide between Summer Lake and Silver Lake.  I ended up on the Silver Lake side, so rain that falls on my landing spot (as infrequent as that may be) would flow north and makes its way to Silver Lake, which has no outlet.

 I’m closer to Summer Lake (the town) than Silver Lake (the town) and Summer Lake (the lake) is much more substantial than Silver Lake (the lake), so Summer Lake gets my spotlight.  From Wiki:

Summer Lake, for which the town is named, is one of the largest in Oregon at approximately 20 miles long and 10 miles wide.  It was named by Captain John C. Frémont during his 1843 mapping expedition through Central Oregon.

On December 16, 1843, the expedition struggled down a steep cliff from a snow-covered plateau to reach a lake in the valley below.  Frémont named them “Winter Ridge” and “Summer Lake.” From the rocky cliff overlooking the lake basin, Frémont described the discovery and naming of Summer Lake as follows:

“At our feet…more than a thousand feet below…we looked into a green prairie country, in which a beautiful lake, some twenty miles in length, was spread along the foot of the mountain…Shivering on snow three feet deep, and stiffening in a cold north wind, we exclaimed at once that the names of Summer Lake and Winter Ridge should be applied to these proximate places of such sudden and violent contrast.”

The first settlers began to arrive in the Summer Lake Valley around 1870. However, the high desert was difficult to farm, and many early settlers stayed only a few years before moving on to greener country.  As a result, the population of the valley never grew beyond a few hundred people.

John Fremont was an explorer, soldier and politician.  He was the first Republican candidate for president (in 1856).  This was back when the Republicans were the liberals and the Democrats were the conservatives (as we all now know after watching “Lincoln.”)

Here’s a picture of Fremont on a cigar box (with the picture’s caption below):


In the old days, this was like getting your picture on the Wheaties box.

This, from Wiki, about the election:

Frémont was one of the first two senators from California, serving from 1850 to 1851.  He was the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party in 1856.  It used the slogan “Free Soil, Free Men, and Frémont” to crusade for free farms (homesteads) and against slavery.  As was typical in presidential campaigns, the candidates stayed at home and said little.

The Democrats campaigned fiercely, warning that a victory by Frémont would bring civil war [oh, come on – not a chance!]. They also raised a host of issues, including the false allegation that Frémont was a Catholic.  Frémont’s powerful father-in-law, Senator Benton, praised Frémont but announced his support for the Democratic candidate James Buchanan.

Here’s the electoral map.  

summer - election results

Poor John.  In spite of a great slogan –  “Free soil; Free Men, and Fremont,” he got nailed by worries about a civil war, people thinking he was (oh no!) Catholic, and his own father-in-law supporting Buchanon.

 I’ll close with this Wiki shot of Summer Lake:

 summer lake from wiki

 That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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