First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days 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.
Landing number 2207; A Landing A Day blog post number 635.
Dan: After landing in Canada (just missing the northern-most tip of Maine), in the Gulf of Mexico (just missing Florida), in the Pacific Ocean and in Mexico, I finally settled down and managed to land in the lower 48 (and a USer at that) . . . CO; 74/75 (barely); 5/10; 1; 150.2.
Here’s my regional landing map:
And my local landing map:
Here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on in to the high plains of eastern Colorado (click on the link and hit your back button after viewing):
While in GE, I noted that my drainage headed east and south. But when I looked at my streams-only Street Atlas map, I could find just snippets of a stream that didn’t appear on the map as a continuum. The stream’s name is Big Sandy Creek, and here’s the map with a pretty close approximation of its course:
You can see that the Big Sandy discharges to the Arkansas (118th hit). Here’s an expanded view of the rest of the story:
Of course, the Arkansas ends up in the MM (860th hit).
The vicinity of my landing has some obvious agricultural areas, but mostly seens to be a more vague landscape. So, of course I used GE Street View (SV) to get a closer look:
Here’s what the orange dude sees:
I love it when the SV cam takes these high quality shots (with good lighting). And, from a little research, it appears that we’re looking at native “Shortgrass Prairie” in the above photo. Here’s a map from Wiki:
And here’s a little of the write-up:
The shortgrass prairie is an ecosystem of the North American Great Plains. These rangelands were formerly maintained by grazing pressure of the “keystone species” of the great plains, the American bison. The semi-arid climate receives on average less precipitation than that which supports the tallgrass prairie formerly to the east.
So now, I guess it’s time to take a closer look at Kit Carson. What better way to take a closer look, than to take a closer look?
And let’s take an even closer look at downtown (which is, of course, Main Street), via a SV tour:
Here’s a highlight from Kit Carson that evidently isn’t on Main Street (GE Panoramio shot by RW Black):
Moving right along – I guess that it would be safe to assume that Kit Carson was named after . . ah . . .let me think . . . ah . . .Kit Carson. Let’s check it out, but first this from KitCarsonColorado.com:
And this, from plain ol’ Colorado.com:
Known for trapping, scouting and fighting, Kit Carson — and the town named after him — represent the frontier spirit that was and is very much alive in the wild West. Burned to the ground three times, this little-town-that-could is still known for its residents’ hard work and determination.
Founded in 1838, and at one time the western terminus for the Union Pacific Railroad, Kit Carson’s location has made it a commercial trade center. With wide tracts of prairie grassland and more than 400 active oil and gas wells, it’s no surprise that farming, cattle ranching and the production of oil are the area’s chief industries.
Downtown Kit Carson is quieter than in days gone by. The saloons are gone, and only a couple of cafes, hotels and a campground remain, but wandering the streets, one can almost hear spurs jingling and glasses clinking together.
So what about Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson? Here’s a picture of him as a younger man, courtesy the Library of Congress:
And this, from PBS.org:
His real name was Christopher Carson. And here’s his real signature:
Staying with PBS.org, here are some excerpts from their article on Kit Carson:
Enshrined in popular mythology even in his own lifetime, Kit Carson was a trapper, scout, Indian agent, soldier and authentic legend of the West.
Born in 1809, Carson spent most of his early childhood in Boone’s Lick, Missouri. His father died when he was only nine years old, and he left home for Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1826.
From about 1828 to 1831, Carson used Taos, New Mexico, as a base camp for repeated fur-trapping expeditions that often took him as far West as California. Later in the 1830’s his trapping took him up the Rocky Mountains and throughout the West.
As was the case with many white trappers, Carson became somewhat integrated into the Indian world; he travelled and lived extensively among Indians, and his first two wives were Arapahoe and Cheyenne women.
Carson was evidently unusual among trappers, however, for his self-restraint and temperate lifestyle. “Clean as a hound’s tooth,” according to one acquaintance, and a man whose “word was as sure as the sun comin’ up,” he was noted for an unassuming manner and implacable courage.
In 1842, while returning to Missouri to visit his family, Carson happened to meet John C. Fremont, who soon hired him as a guide. Over the next several years, Carson helped guide Fremont to Oregon and California, and through much of the Central Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin.
His service with Fremont, celebrated in Fremont’s widely-read reports of his expeditions, quickly made Kit Carson a national hero, presented in popular fiction as a rugged mountain man capable of superhuman feats.
Carson played a prominent and memorable role in the Civil War in New Mexico. He helped organize the New Mexico volunteer infantry, which saw action at Valverde in 1862. Most of his military actions, however, were directed against the Navajo Indians, many of whom had refused to be confined upon a distant reservation set up by the government.
Beginning in 1863 Carson waged a brutal economic war against the Navajo, marching through the heart of their territory to destroy their crops, orchards and livestock.
And the Ugly:
In 1864 most surrendered to Carson, who forced nearly 8,000 Navajo men, women and children to take what came to be called the “Long Walk” of 300 miles from Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where they remained in disease-ridden confinement until 1868.
After the Civil War, Carson moved to Colorado in the hope of expanding his ranching business. He died there in 1868, and the following year his remains were moved to a small cemetery near his old home in Taos.
ALAD note: I’ve featured John Fremont prominently in four posts, and also featured the “Long Walk” in my December 2014 Ganada, Arizona post.
Here’s a short piece from my Ganado post:
One Navajo elder said of the Long Walk:
By slow stages we traveled eastward by present Gallup, Chusbbito and Bear Spring, which is now called Fort Wingate. You ask how they treated us? If there was room the soldiers put the women and children on the wagons. Some even let them ride behind them on their horses. I have never been able to understand a people who killed you one day and on the next played with your children…
Here’s a old-time shot of a soldier guarding Navajos during the Long Walk:
I’ll close with this Pano shot by Dann Cianca, taken just east of Kit Carson (showing Shortgrass Prairie):
That’ll do it . . .
© 2015 A Landing A Day