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Archive for November, 2015

Wessington Springs and Lane, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on November 30, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2229; A Landing A Day blog post number 657.

Dan:  Before I begin, I have an important message for the A Landing A Day nation.  We have our own Facebook page!  Check out the link on the upper right.  There’s not any information there yet, but at least it provides a friendlier forum for communication than the “comments” that can be posted on this blog.  So please, if the spirit moves you, go ahead and let me hear from you!  

Back to our regularly-scheduled programming . . .

For the 13 landings since initiating my new random lat/long procedure, I’ve only landed in 9 states, thanks to four TX landings, and now two in this state . . . SD.  Old Score 1464; new Score 1464.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

To check out my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to eastern SD, click HERE (and then click “back”):

Here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Crow Lake, on to Smith Creek.  Smith Creek discharges to Lake Francis Case, one of the numerous lakes created by damming up the Missouri R (402nd hit); on, of course, to the MM (869th hit).

We have Street View coverage of Smith Creek, just downstream from Crow Lake:

GE SV map Jack Creek

And, for what it’s worth, here’s what the orange dude sees:

GE SV Jack Creek

I guess Smith Creek is the darker strip of vegetation.  It probably has flowing water during the spring melt and after a big rain . . .

Anyway, I’ll start with Wessington Springs, although I don’t have much to say.  I took this from the town’s website:

Wessington Springs is located at the base of the Wessington Hills. The town derives its name from the hills and the many fresh-water springs which flow from those hills. There are many legends regarding how the hills were named, the best-known being that of a trapper named Wessington who was captured by renegade Indians, tied to a tree and burned. That tree was located in what is now the city park. Although none of the legends have basis in historical fact, Wessington Springs and its immediate area is, itself, rich in history.

In June 2014, a serious passed right through the middle of town.  From a UPI.com story by Frances Burn:

Fire-chief-20-minute-warning-saved-lives-as-tornado-hit-Wessington-Springs-SD

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D., June 19 (UPI) — A tornado that passed through the small town of Wessington Springs, S.D., flattened homes and businesses but spared lives, officials said.

All of the town’s 1,000 or so residents were accounted for hours after the tornado touched down Wednesday night, Jerauld County State’s Attorney Dedrich Koch said. Only one person received a severe enough injury to require treatment.

The damage to property was far greater, with 23 houses uninhabitable and 20 more badly damaged. At least 10 businesses suffered significant damage, half of them described as destroyed.

Fire Chief Jim Vavra said warning sirens gave residents 20 minutes to seek shelter, just enough time to prevent injury and save lives.

I could find nothing in Wiki about Lane, or in any other website for that matter.  However, I did find a very interesting video from Sioux Falls TV station KELO.  Please pay close attention:

http://www.keloland.com/_video/_videoplayer_embed.cfm?VideoFile=020811lane

 

Ouch.  I fear things got a little ugly around the town soda fountain.

Here’s how it ended up (from KELO):

According to Lane’s business manager, results from Tuesday’s vote: 28-9 against town being dissolved. So, Lane will stay as is.

Time for some GE Panoramio shots.  Here’s a map showing four pictures about four miles east of my landing.

I’ll just run the table, going north to south.  First this, by TaylorFamily:

pano TaylorFamily1

Also by TaylorFamily, this of some old foundations:

pano TaylorFamily2

And this, by Monte Moore, of Union Cemetery:

pano Monte Moore

Pretty lonely place, eh?

I’ll finish with this general landscape shot, also by TaylorFamily:

pano TaylorFamily3

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on November 25, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2228; A Landing A Day blog post number 656.

Dan:  Fortunately, after four landings in TX (out of my last 11 landings since I fixed my random lat/long generation procedure), I didn’t land in TX again.  Instead, it was . . . WV; 1480 (last Score); 1464 (current Score).  No clue what I’m talking about? Check out my Grand Rapids post (use the search box if you’re interested).

Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed in the eastern panhandle:

landing 1

My local map highlights the three closely-packed states in the vicinity of my landing:

landing 2

Actually, zooming back just a little, it’s easy to make it four closely-packed states:

landing 2a

In a measley 20 miles, you can drive from PA through MD & WV, ending up in VA!

I believe that there is nowhere else in the U.S. where you can drive 20 miles and be in four states.  OK, in Four Corners, you can spin around the monument on foot and do four states in a matter of seconds.  But nowhere else can you travel 20 miles in a straight line and pass through four states.  Based on my lengthy research, here’s the second-closest spot to accomplish the same thing:

landing 2b

Enough already!  It’s time for my watershed analysis.  As you can readily see on my local landing map, I landed right next to the Potomac River (12th hit).  Here’s my streams-only map showing the Potomac making its way to the Chesapeake:

landing 3

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the eastern panhandle of WV:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6voyhQFt&w=820&v=3

I’ll zoom back a little so you can see “Burnt Factory:”

ge 1

It took quite a bit of searching, but I finally found a brief discussion of how the town got its name.  And yes, it does have everything to do with a factory that burnt down.  Anyway, this is from FindaGrave.com in a post about the Burnt Factory United Methodist Church Cemetery:

In February of 1826 Jesse Calvert deeded land “for a place to preach and espouse the word of God.” Much of the land in the area was owned by Joseph Carter whose son, James, ran a paper mill located near where the church stood. The mill was converted into a wool mill which later burned, giving the name of “Burnt Factory” to the area.

Mighty strange way to name a town (and it is also the name of the entire area, as there is a Burnt Factory in nearby VA).  By the way, the area in the above photo that looks sandy is, in fact, sandy (sandstone, actually).  This is a quarry where the sandstone is comprised of very pure silica used for glass.

Anyway, moving along to Berkeley Springs.  There’s actually a state park right in town.  Here’s a write-up from the park website:

Long before the first Europeans discovered the warm waters of Berkeley Springs, it was already a famous health mecca which attracted Indians from the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the Great Lakes to the Carolinas.  Those first settlers, who came in 1730, learned the uses and value of the springs from the Indians and began spreading the word of its benefits throughout the settlements of the east.

Perhaps the most notable and influential advocate of the curative powers of the springs was George Washington, who, at 16, visited them as a member of a survey party.   As the party, which was surveying the western limits of Thomas Lord Fairfax’s lands, camped there for the night, young Washington noted in his diary, “March 18th, 1748, We this day called to see Ye Fam’d Warm Springs.”

For many years afterwards, George Washington visited the springs regularly, and it was largely through his efforts that its fame as a health spa grew throughout the colonies.  At the urging of the Colony of Virginia and in the public interest, Lord Fairfax conveyed his land holdings at the springs and fifty adjacent acres to the Colony of Virginia in 1776.

Shortly thereafter, the land was offered for public sale.  George Washington, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, four signers of the Constitution, seven members of the Continental Congress, and five Revolutionary generals were among the prominent colonists who made initial purchases there.  Hence, the springs’ reputation as a health resort became firmly established.

Berkeley Springs State Park is located in the center of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The Bathhouse first opened in 1930.  Since then, thousands have enjoyed the variety of baths and treatments in the warm mineral waters that flow from the springs at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

The springs discharge from five principle sources and numerous lesser ones, all within a hundred yards, approximately 2,000 gallons of clear, sparkling water per minute.

So, obviously, George Washington slept here.  And bathed here.  I don’t believe any of the old structures where George may have slept are still around, but we do have the actual bath tub (alledged?) where George (and others) bathed.  Here ‘tis (courtesy of Travel Berkeley Springs):

travel berkeley springs

Here’s the Samuel Taylor Suit “cottage,” built as a personal retreat by Mr. Suit in 1885.  It overlooks the springs and the town and is known as the Berkeley Castle:

BerkeleyCastle_WestVirginia

I’ll close with a couple of nearby GE Panoramio shots.  Here’s one of “Devil’s Eyebrow” (just across the Potomac in MD, by Ian.Everhart).  This is an anticline, where sedimentary beds are folded thusly:

pano ian.everhart

The roof of the anticline is a hard sandstone; the indented portion is a soft limestone which has eroded.  I’m familiar with the anticlines (and synclines) of Pennsylvania’s valley and ridge province – but there, each structure can be measured in thousands of feet (or miles) . . .

And here’s a shot of the Potomac right near my landing, by MidAtlanticRiverRat:

pano midatlanticriverrat

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Angelina County, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 20, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2227; A Landing A Day blog post number 655.

Dan:  This is my eleventh landing since I initiated my new random lat / long landing process.  Unbelievably, I have landed in one state four times since then.  Obviously, if you had to guess, you’d guess that it’s a big state, and it is . . . TX. 

Texas is obviously way oversubscribed (OS) at this point, and my Score (1480) isn’t going down the way it would be if I were landing in undersubscribed (US) states – i.e., those where I haven’t yet landed.  Oh well.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

My local landing map shows the entirety (almost) of Angelina County.  (More about why I picked an entire county instead of my usual town in a minute):

landing 2

Here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3a

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Jack Creek; on to Cedar Ck; on to the Neches River (9th hit) and to the Sabine (19th hit).  As you can see, the Sabine is the border between LA & TX.  FYI, the Sam Reyburn Reservoir is the dammed-up Angelina River.  

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to East Texas. Click on the link below and hit “back” after viewing:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6tbOhize&w=820&v=3

See the road right next to my landing?  Amazingly, it has Street View coverage:

GE sv landing map

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

GE sv landing

I had the orange dude make a 90-degree turn (looking south):

GE sv landing 2

And just northwest of my landing, that same road crosses Jack Creek.  Hey.  That bridge knows Jack . . . 

Anyway, here’s what the orange dude sees at the bridge:

GE sv jack ck

So anyway, take a look back up at my local landing map.  I landed near Lufkin, far and away the largest town in Angelina County.  Of course, I assumed that I would be featuring Lufkin.  But try as I might, I could find nothing of particular interest to me (or my readers).

And there are many small towns in Angelina County that I could have featured.  I spent an inordinate amount of time researching small town after small town – looking at entries in Wiki, at TexasEscapes.com, at the Texas State Historical Association website.  And I’ll tell you, Texas Escapes and the State Historical Association are excellent resources; way better than what I can find for most states.  But nothing interesting is nothing interesting. 

The history and development of this area is pretty much about railroads (as always) and, in this part of Texas, logging.  But I found the entire region to be:

aa-hookless

So, I went to the Angelina County website, and found this little write-up about the early history of the county:

Spanish Franciscan priests, who established the early Indian missions, found a strong ally in a young Indian girl that they named Angelina or “Little Angel.” Eventually her village became known as Angelina’s village and the stream where it was located became Angelina’s river.

In 1693 she traveled to Mexico with the Spanish priests and then returned to East Texas where she kept the spark of Christianity alive for her Spanish Fathers.

Angelina also served as an interpreter for early French explorers. The Marquis de Aquayo noted in his journal of 1721 that Angelina stood with the other village tribal chieftains and wielded considerable influence as well as directing much of the tribal functions.

Spain’s “Little Angel” probably died several years later and is thought to be buried in the vicinity of Mission Conception near the Angelina River.

Angelina stitched her life into the whole fabric of East Texas. Her name is given to a river, a village, a National Forest, and to our county.

As regular readers of A Landing A Day know, I can’t help but bump into heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story about the mistreatment of Indians.  (“Mistreatment” is a rather pathetic understatement in my opinion).  I am sure that this part of Texas also resounds with such stories.  But for now, I’ll just let it go with Angelina’s story . . .

Time for some GE Panoramio photos.  I’ll start with this shot by J-Gerland of an erstwhile railroad bridge over the Neches River, a few miles west of my landing:

pano J-Gerland

And I’ll close with this sunrise shot over the Sam Rayburn Reservoir (about 20 miles east of my landing), also by J-Gerland:

pano J-Gerland 2

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Hokah, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on November 16, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2226; A Landing A Day blog post number 654.

Dan:  I just missed Iowa and Wisconsin, but instead landed in the far southeast corner of . . . MN.  Here’s my regional landing map showing what I’m talking about:

landing 1

Before moving on to my local landing map, I need to bring up some nuts-and-bolts A Landing A Day (ALAD) business.  This is my 10th landing since discovering that my “random” lat/longs that located each landing weren’t so random after all (type Grand Rapids into the search box and you can learn all about it). 

You students of ALAD can keep reading.  But I encourage the more casual readers to skip down to my local landing map and read from there. 

So anyway, my Score is a measure of the even-ness of my landings across the lower 48.  With fewer landings, the distribution of landings might be a little off – you know, clusters of landings here, gaps with no landings there.  But inevitably, as the number of landings increases, the statistical distribution will begin to even out.  An example would be flipping coins.  If you flip a coin 10 times, you might get a 5/5 distribution of heads & tails, but maybe you’ll get an 8/2 distribution. 

But if you flip a coin 100 times, there will be essentially zero chance that that will be an 80/20 distribution.  Maybe a 55/45 distribution, but probably not any worse than that.  Flip it 2000 times, and the heads/tails distribution is guaranteed to be mighty close to 50/50.

So anyway, my Score involves an esoteric calculation that looks at each state and determines if the number of landings in that state is proportionate to the area of the state.  The more “out of whack” it is, the higher that state’s contribution to the Score is.  After many, many landings, my Score will inevitably be making its way towards (but never reaching) zero.

After 2217 landings, my Score was 150 (after beginning at 1962 for my first landing), and had been stuck around 150 for months and months.  The reason it wasn’t making its inexorable way to zero is that my landing locations were not random. 

Well, I have a new random location generating tool, and now my Score will truly march down to zero.  Trouble is, I’ve only had 10 landings since I discovered the non-randomness of the first 2216 landings.  But what the heck.

Interestingly, my very first landing was in Michigan and my first landing with the new random location generator was also in Michigan.  As mentioned above, my first Score was 1962.  Because I landed in Michigan for my second generation of landings, my first Score was also 1962.  This landing in MN (my first) helped lower my current Score all the way down to 1480.  You can see I’m making good progress towards zero (but I have a long way to go).

Interesting side note:  You regular readers know that Texas was the most under-subscribed (US) state – that is, the state that had many, many fewer landings that it should have, based on its area.  (This is one of inevitable consequences of the non-randomness of my landings.)  Of my first 10 landings, I’ve landed in Texas three times, making it (by far) the most over-subscribed (OS) state. 

Going forward, I’m going to mention whether or not the state where I landed is under-subscribed (US) over over-subscribed (OS), and what my Score is . .

Time for my local landing map:

landing 2

Here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3

As you can see, I landed in the Money Creek watershed; on to the Root River (4th hit); and on to the MM (868th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the far southeast corner of MN.  (Click on the link, and hit the back button after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6FYwhejM&w=820&v=3

Here’s a close-up of the house & farm buildings at the end of the long driveway:

GE 1

Zooming quite a bit back, we see a system of uplands (wooded) and valleys (farmed).

GE 2

This is different from the rest of Minnesota, which is pretty much flat farm land (central and south to southwest) or pretty much flat lake country (central and north to north east).  Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Stratford60108 that shows the uplands/valley topography:

pano stratford60108

And before I move on, here’s a Pano shot (by Wizguy) of the Root River near Houston:

pano wizguy

Speaking of Houston, you can see on my local landing map that I landed closest to Houston and Money Creek.  You have also noticed that neither of them made it my post title.  All I have to say about Houston is that it was named after Sam Houston, and that Money Creek was named after (surprise, surprise), Money Creek.

So what about Hokah?  Here’s what Wiki says about the name:

The city’s name, which is alternately said to be an Indian word meaning gar fish or the Dakota name for the nearby Root River.  Regardless, it derives from the chief of the settlement, Chief Wecheschatope Hokah.

But that’s not the reason that Hokah won the “what-town-will-be-in-the-title?” contest.  The reason is that two very interesting people are listed in Wiki’s “Notable Residents” section – and they both have to do with World War II.  Hokah was the home of:

  • Herbert John Burgman, Nazi propagandist and
  • Howard Littlejohn, Navajo Code Talker.

Here we go, starting with Mr. Burgman (from Wiki):

Herbert John Burgman was born in 1894 in Hokah, Minnesota and served with the U.S. Army from 1918 to 1920.  In 1921, he joined the State Department and was posted to Germany in Berlin where he worked as a clerk and economic statistician in the U.S. embassy to Germany. He married a German woman and had a child in Germany.

At the beginning of WWII on September 1, 1939, he chose to remain in Germany rather than return to the U.S. with the repatriation of the embassy staff. By 1941, he was a committed Nazi sympathizer.

During World War II, he broadcast for “Radio Debunk”, the “Voice of All Free America” under the pseudonym of Joe Scanlon.  He attempted to persuade American listeners in his broadcasts that Britain and the Soviet Union were in collusion against the United States. He blamed Franklin D. Roosevelt and “his Jewish and Communistic pals” for the war.

Burgman was arrested at his home in Frankfurt in November 1948 and was returned to the United States on February 4, 1949, to face trial.  He was convicted of 13 acts of treason on November 15, 1949 and was sentenced to 6 to 20 years of prison.  He died of natural causes in 1953 while incarcerated.

Now there’s a native son that town wishes came from somewhere else . . .

But Howard Littlejohn – there’s someone to be proud of.  Here are excerpts from a July 2015 article in the Houston County News by Donna Huegel:

Howard Littlejohn (one of five Littlejohn brothers who all served in WWII) was a member of the Winnebago tribe and became one of the now famous Code Talkers who served on the front lines in Germany during WWII.

Here’s a picture (from the article) of four of the five brothers (including Howard):

brothers

Back to the article:

Germany and Japan had a great knack for breaking codes until Phillip Johnston, who grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke fluent Navajo, came up with the idea of using languages unknown to them – the Native American languages.

A program that started with the Navajo, then the largest Native American tribe, in 1942 later branched out to other tribes. Previously, codes had to be deciphered from books or bulky machines, so Code Talkers communicating with others of their language greatly improved efficiency as well as security in relaying vital battlefield information. The Code Talkers memorized 200 to 500 military terms, translated to their own language.

Sergeant Howard Littlejohn’s job as a Code Talker was a very dangerous one, relaying coordinates from the front lines to another Winnebago Code Talker in the gunnery. Howard transferred the coded messages in various ways, by portable field phone, radio, Morse code and even by flag signal, if necessary.

Tragically, he was killed in action near the Battle of the Bulge. After he was injured, the fighting was so fierce that medics were unable to get to him while he lay on the battlefield for one to two days. By the time they got to him, he was dead, Apr. 17, 1945.

The Code Talkers’ special duty during the war was classified information until 1969, when the role of Code Talkers was finally revealed. It was kept secret until then for fear of other wars breaking out and the need to use their skills again. The role of the Code Talkers was celebrated formally when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 14, 1982, as National Code Talker Day.

Howard Littlejohn was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 20, 2013. Greg Littlejohn accepted the medal for the family.

Time for some Pano pics.  Here’s one by Tensor08 of a road along the Root River near Houston:

pano tensor08

I’ll close with another Root Valley shot, this one by MTufi, of a classic farmstead:

pano mtufi

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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High Creek Fen, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on November 11, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2225; A Landing A Day blog post number 653.

Dan:  This is one of those smack-dab-in-the-middle landings, particularly obvious when one lands in a nearly square state like . . . CO.  Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

Here’s Part A of my watershed analysis:

landing 3a

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of High Creek (home of the titular fen), on to Fourmile Ck and on to the S Platte River (20th hit).  Zooming back for Part B:

landing 3b

The South Platte makes its way to the Platte (67th hit), on to the Missouri (401st hit), and, of course, on to the MM (867th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to it-doesn’t-get-anymore-central-than-this Colorado:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6IFbhcMt&w=820&v=3

Staying with the central theme of this post, the town of Hartsel (just 10 miles southeast of my landing) claims to be the geographic center of the state.

As you can see on my local landing map, I also landed near the town of Fairplay.  Well, it turns out that this is the second time that I landed near the town of Fairplay, and I wrote about it in an excellent June 2009 post.  Check it out using the search box if you’d like.

Moving right along.  As often happens with my ALAD posts, I stumble on something interesting by perusing the GE Panoramio photos.  Putting my cursor over the one closest to my landing, here’s what I saw:

GE pano

And here’s the lovely picture of the Mosquito Range (mountains to the west) by StCroix2:

pano stcroix2 mosquito range view 1 mi s

But what on earth is the High Creek Fen?  I see a pond in the foreground, but that’s about it.  On to Google.  It turns out that the Nature Conservancy has a High Creek Fen web page.  From that page:

WHAT IS A FEN?

A type of wet meadow or marshland fed primarily by groundwater that is constantly flowing to the surface.

THE HIGH CREEK FEN

Situated at just under 10,000 feet, this fen is an astonishing vestige of the last Ice Age. The preserve is the most ecologically diverse, floristically rich fen known to exist in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Indeed, it contains more rare plant species (14) than any other wetland in Colorado.

Visit during mid-July to enjoy wildflowers in bloom: You can see Indian paintbrush, bluebell, day lily, pale blue-eyed grass and shrubby cinquefoil.

WHY THE CONSERVANCY SELECTED THIS SITE

In the late 1980s, Dr. David Cooper identified High Creek Fen as the best example of an “extreme rich fen” wetland in Colorado. (Only 2-3 other fens with this classification exist in the entire United States.) The Conservancy is working to keep the fen intact and protect the extraordinary diversity of plants and animals that it supports.

If you REALLY want to wade into the fen (so to speak), I highly recommend that you check out The Aapa Mire blog post on the fen (entitled “High Creek Fen:  A Pocket of Unique Diversity and Beauty in the Southern Rocky Mountains”).  Joe Rocchio is the Aapa Mire guy (and, FYI, Aapa Mire is Finnish for a large, complex, cold-climate wetland).  Anyway, click HERE for his post.

Here’s a Google Earth shot showing the fen (the dark area):

GE 1 High Creek Fen

So artesian groundwater comes up out the ground (fed by groundwater originating at higher elevations in the surrounding uplands), creating the wetlands which form the headwaters of High Creek.  

Here are three of the pictures from the Aapa Mire post, showing the fen landscape:

File name :DSCN6629.JPG File size :377.7KB(386724Bytes) Shoot date :0000/00/00 00:00:00 Picture size :2048 x 1536 Resolution :72 x 72 dpi Number of bits :8bit/channel Protection attribute :Off Hide Attribute :Off Camera ID :N/A Model name :E995 Quality mode :BASIC Metering mode :Multi-pattern Exposure mode :Programmed auto Flash :No Focal length :8.2 mm Shutter speed :1/272.6second Aperture :F5.3 Exposure compensation :0 EV Fixed white balance :Auto Lens :Built-in Flash sync mode :N/A Exposure difference :N/A Flexible program :N/A Sensitivity :Auto Sharpening :Auto Curve mode :N/A Color mode :COLOR Tone compensation :AUTO Latitude(GPS) :N/A Longitude(GPS) :N/A Altitude(GPS) :N/A

File name :DSCN6622.JPG File size :408.9KB(418688Bytes) Shoot date :0000/00/00 00:00:00 Picture size :2048 x 1536 Resolution :72 x 72 dpi Number of bits :8bit/channel Protection attribute :Off Hide Attribute :Off Camera ID :N/A Model name :E995 Quality mode :BASIC Metering mode :Multi-pattern Exposure mode :Programmed auto Flash :No Focal length :8.2 mm Shutter speed :1/250.6second Aperture :F5.3 Exposure compensation :0 EV Fixed white balance :Auto Lens :Built-in Flash sync mode :N/A Exposure difference :N/A Flexible program :N/A Sensitivity :Auto Sharpening :Auto Curve mode :N/A Color mode :COLOR Tone compensation :AUTO Latitude(GPS) :N/A Longitude(GPS) :N/A Altitude(GPS) :N/A

P7260055

I would say that the High Creek Fen will never become a tourist hot spot, because there’s really not that much to look at.  For me, the cool thing is that this wetlands has probably remained untouched for thousands of years.  If you’re a wetlands botanist, it should be on your bucket list . . .

I’ll close with a couple of GE Pano shots.  First this, by cremer9, taken near Hartsel:

pano cremer 9 near hartsell

What a great shot!  And then this (not bad either), taken by EarthScapes about a mile SW of my landing:

pano earthscapes about a mile SE

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Coyanosa, Royalty, Grandfalls and Imperial, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 7, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2224; A Landing A Day blog post number 652.

Dan:  Funny thing.  I’ve landed 8 times using my new random lat/long procedure, and three of them have been in my number one long-time USer . . . TX.  Haven’t a clue what I’m talking about?  Check out my Grand Rapids post (type Grand Rapids into the search box).

Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map showing (surprise, surprise) that I landed near a bunch of small towns:

landing 2

I landed about 5 miles from the Pecos River, so my watershed analysis was a no brainer.  This was my 17th hit in the Pecos watershed; on to the Rio Grande (45th hit).  Here’s a map:

landing 3

Time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the oil fields of West Texas (click on the link, then hit “back” after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6iDqfShU&w=820&v=3

Here’s a second look at the drilling / production pads in the vicinity of my landing:

GE oil & gas

It turns out that there’s excellent Street View coverage near my landing:

SV landing map

Although there’s not much that the orange dude has to look at:

SV landing

This is one flat, arid landscape . . .

I had the orange dude look up and down the road, and he saw this vehicle:

sv pro well testing & wireline

Pro Well Testing and Wireline.  This is an oil well servicing company.  Wireline refers to equipment that can lower sensors down an oil well to see what’s going on down there . . .

The area is not only flat and arid, it’s also:

aa-hookless

This will clearly be a little of this and little of that type of post (accent on the little).

I’ll start with Coyanosa.  From Texas Escapes (History in a Pecan Shell):

CoyanosaTxRoadSign0208BG

Coyanosa’s first historic event was the opening of a post office in 1908. Although it closed in 1918, the town was here to stay. Cotton farmers irrigated their fields in the drought-stricken 1950s from freshly drilled wells.

No one thought to count the residents until 1958, when they numbered 200. The post office reopened and in the early 1960s, the town was thriving with eight business and an estimated population of 600.

The infamous fuel shortages of the late 1970s put an end to irrigation and most cotton farms went belly-up. The population declined accordingly and soon it was down to 270. It has since declined to 138 for the 2000 census.

I guess they’re still growing some cotton around Coyanosa (pumpkins, too).  Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by RebelCry1 from just south of town:

pano rebelcry

Doesn’t look like a very healthy cotton crop . .

Anyway, I “filmed” a Coyanosa drive-by using Street View:

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6iDvfShs&w=820&v=3

On to Royalty (also from Texas Escapes with minor edits by yours truly):

After oil was discovered in 1927, this town was named after the “royalties” paid to property owners. Royalty had a population of 20 in 1933 and businesses were consistent with the bare-bones necessities of an oil town: cafe, barber, pool hall, hotel, laundry and drugstore. Its high-water mark was reached just prior to WWII with a population of 750 but by 1950 there were only 280. It has now reached the point where nobody bothers to estimate the population.

Great last line.

Once again, using Street View, here’s a quick “spin” at the main intersection of “town” (and, yes, you’re correct:  there’s no there there).

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6iDafS1c&w=820&v=3

If you can contain your excitement, we’ll move on to Grand Falls.  From Texas Escapes:

The original town site was located at the upper falls of the Pecos River, known as the Grand Falls.  In the 1880s dams were built that channeled water to power a cotton gin.

The population was dwindling in 1925 due to a severe drought several years prior and a slow economy. Things were looking bleak until oil was discovered and the population doubled to 500 in 1929.

The 50s and 60s saw Grandfalls reach its peak of around 1000 people, mostly involved in the oil business. The 1990 census showed 583 people in Grandfalls.

So where the heck are the Grand Falls of the Pecos?  By searching on GE, I found what looks like a couple of sets of rapids not far from town:

GE grand falls

Must be it . . .

Last stop:  Imperial.  From Texas Escapes:

A post office and school opened here in 1910 and the town is said to be named after the Imperial Valley of California. Prior to the post office the community went by the name of Redlands. One Ben E. Bush laid out a townsite in 1911 and a small dam impounded water diverted from the Pecos River.

With an irrigation canal in place, an attempt was made to encourage settlement but the water had a high salt content which effectively killed that idea. The population was a mere 25 people in the mid-1920s which increased tenfold by 1949, thanks to the oil boom. By the late 1960s the population had mushroomed to nearly 1,000 residents, but has since declined to 428 – the number given for the 2000 census

The Texas Escapes Imperial post has this picture of something called “Horsehead Crossing,” about 12 mi SE of Imperial:

ImperialTxHorseHeadCrossing1207BG

This, from the Texas State Historical Association:

Horsehead Crossing is a ford of the Pecos River, southeast of Imperial.  In the 19th century (and before), Horsehead Crossing was one of the few fordable points on the Pecos River. Steep, muddy banks, unpredictable currents, and quicksand were natural barriers to travel for long distances up and down stream of the Crossing.

After long treks across the surrounding desert, thirsty animals were often poisoned by the briny river water or became hopelessly mired in the quicksand at the crossing. It was littered with horse, cattle, and mule skeletons. Horsehead Crossing was named for the horse skulls said to have been placed atop mesquite trees near the ford.

 

Beginning in the 1860s cattlemen frequently drove their herds across Horsehead Crossing. Charles L. Pyron drove a herd of 10,000 cattle across in 1866. Also in 1866 Charles Goodnight drove cattle up the Pecos River past Horsehead Crossing on the Goodnight-Loving Trail. After losing hundreds of cattle in the desert and the river, Goodnight described the Pecos as the “graveyard of the cowman’s hopes.”

I’ll close with a couple of GE Panoramio shots of the Pecos (down near Horsehead Crossing).  First this of a old bridge by Tim Kreitz:

pano tim kreitz

And this, by PBFT:

pano pbft

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Avalon and Money, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on November 3, 2015

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) please see “About Landin above.

Landing number 2223; A Landing A Day blog post number 651.

Dan:  For some reason, when I land in this state, I always seems to find something interesting.  The state is, of course . . . MS.  Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map, showing that I landed in the midst of a plethora of small towns:

landing 2

Here’s my watershed analysis:

landing 3

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Yalobusha River (3rd hit); on to the Tallatachie (10th hit); to the Yazoo (13th hit); to the Mississippi (866th hit).  What a great series of river names . . .

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to Central Mississippi (click on the link and hit the back button after viewing):

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=co6f2df9FP&w=820&v=3

Here’s a GE shot showing the closest Street View location:

SV landing map

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

SV landing

Right away, my eye went to the town with the catchiest name:  Money.  When I checked it out, I found a couple of good hooks, but hey – I’m in Mississippi Delta Blues Country, so I better check out all of the little towns.  Phillipp:  nothing.  Holcomb:  nothing.  Leflore:  nothing.  But Avalon:  Bingo! 

So, I’ll start with Avalon.  It’s the hometown of Mississippi John Hurt (1893 – 1966).  He’s not a classic Delta Blues musician; rather, his songs (including the blues) are a mixture of folk and country.  Here’s a painting of John, courtesy Mary Hurt Wright / John Hurt Museum:

mississippi-john-hurt-jeff-d-ottavio

Here’s some of his story, from Wiki:

While in Memphis in 1928, Hurt recorded for Okeh Records.  He described his first recording session as such:

… a great big hall with only the three of us in it: me, Mr. Rockwell [from Okeh], and the engineer. It was really something. I sat on a chair, and they pushed the microphone right up to my mouth and told me that I couldn’t move after they had found the right position. I had to keep my head absolutely still. Oh, I was nervous, and my neck was sore for days after.

Hurt attempted further negotiations with Okeh to record again, but after the commercial failure of the resulting records, and Okeh Records going out of business during the Great Depression, Hurt returned to Avalon and obscurity, working as a sharecropper and playing local parties and dances.

After Hurt’s renditions of “Frankie” and “Spike Driver Blues” were included in The Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952, there was interest in finding Hurt.  Although it wasn’t until 1963 (when an old recording of “Avalon Blues” was uncovered), that a folk musicologist, Tom Hoskins was able to locate Hurt near Avalon, Mississippi, based on the line:

Avalon, my home town, always on my mind

While in Avalon, Hoskins convinced an apprehensive Hurt to perform several songs for him, to ensure that he was genuine.  Hoskins was convinced, and seeing that Hurt’s guitar playing skills were still intact, Hoskins encouraged him to move to Washington, D.C., and begin performing on a wider stage.

His performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival saw his star rise amongst the new folk revival audience.  Before his death he played extensively in colleges, concert halls, coffee houses, and on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, as well as recording three further albums for Vanguard Records.]

Hurt’s influence spanned several music genres including blues, spirituals, country, bluegrass, folk, and contemporary rock and roll. A soft-spoken man, his nature was reflected in the work, which consisted of a mellow mix of country, blues, and old time music.

Hurt died on November 2, 1966, of a heart attack in Avalon, Mississippi.

And yes, I found a rendition of “Avalon Blues” on You Tube (words below).  I highly recommend you take a listen and follow along . . .

 

Avalon, my hometown, always on my mind
Avalon, my hometown, always on my mind
Pretty mama’s in Avalon, want me there all the time

Left Avalon this mornin’, about half-past nine
Left Avalon this mornin’, about half-past nine
Says “Come back, Daddy, let me change your mind”

Hate to tell you, pretty Mama, you got to know
Hate to tell you, pretty Mama
I’m leavin’ Avalon, ain’t coming back no more.

When I left Avalon, throwin’ kisses and wavin’ at me
When I left Avalon, throwin’ kisses and wavin’ at me
Says, “Come back, daddy, and stay right here with me”

New York’s a good town but it’s not for mine
New York’s a good town but it’s not for mine
Pretty Mama in Avalon, going there all the time.
Yea, going there all the time

One thing I can’t understand,
There’s one thing I can’t understand,
So many pretty mamas in Avalon, and I’m just one man

Here’s a Wiki photo by Matt Lancashire of the Mississippi John Hurt Museum in Avalon:

800px-50_Mississippi_John_Hurt_Museum,_Avalon,_MS

So now it’s time to move over to Money.  Right off, I can’t find anything on how Money got its name.  Oh well.  But I did find out that Money was the setting of the tragic murder of Emmett Till.  From Wiki:

Money became infamous in the U.S. civil rights movement after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, visited his uncle Moses Wright there in August 1955. Till reportedly made suggestive remarks or whistled at (accounts differ) Carolyn Bryant, a white woman working alone at Bryant’s Grocery, a store she owned with husband Roy Bryant.

As a result, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, abducted, tortured and murdered Till. The pair were arrested and tried for the murder, but were speedily acquitted by the all-white jury. They confessed to the killing in an interview with William Bradford Huie in the January, 1956 issue of Look magazine.

Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley, insisted on an open casket funeral and allowed news photographs of the body to be published, raising nationwide awareness of lynching. Many Southern historians suggest that the Emmett Till murder helped spark the civil rights movement of the 1960s, by drawing national attention to injustice.

Here’s a picture of Emmett, the Christmas before his murder:

Emmett_Till

Here’s a picture of Bryant’s Grocery store as it looks today (from Wiki):

800px-EmmettTillStoreMoneyMS

Moving right along, Wiki’s entry on Money has this note:

A bridge crossing the Tallahatchie River at Money was the focus of Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 hit song “Ode to Billie Joe”. That bridge collapsed in June 1972 and has since been replaced. The November 10, 1967 issue of Life contained a photo of Gentry crossing the original bridge:

BobbieGentryBridge1967

What a great song.  A really great song.  Back in the 60s, everybody listened to the same top 40 radio stations, and everybody heard Ode to Billie Joe over and over.  The song came out in the summer of 1967, “The Summer of Love,” and knocked the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” from the number 1 spot.

The next year, Bobbie appeared on the Andy Williams show (and I suspect that I watched it).  Here she is:

 

I found this write-up from PerformingSongWriter.com:

In August 1967, Lyndon Johnson announced that he was sending 45,000 more troops to Vietnam. Black power advocate Stokely Carmichael called for violent revolution in the streets. Beatles manager Brian Epstein died from an overdose of sleeping pills. But around water coolers, the hot topic was what Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The mystery created by Bobbie Gentry in her debut single “Ode To Billie Joe” cast a spell over the entire country. Set to a backing of spare acoustic guitar chords and atmospheric strings, Gentry’s sensual, Southern-fried voice relates the story of two Mississippi teenage lovers who share a dark secret that eventually leads to the boy’s suicide. And over 40 years later, despite cinematic details in the song’s lyric, we still don’t know exactly what happened up there on Choctaw Ridge.

As Gentry said, “The song is sort of a study in unconscious cruelty. But everybody seems more concerned with what was thrown off the bridge than they are with the thoughtlessness of the people expressed in the song. What was thrown off the bridge really isn’t that important.

“Everybody has a different guess about what was thrown off the bridge—flowers, a ring, even a baby. Anyone who hears the song can think what they want, but the real message of the song, if there must be a message, revolves around the nonchalant way the family talks about the suicide. They sit there eating their peas and apple pie and talking, without even realizing that Billie Joe’s girlfriend is sitting at the table, a member of the family.”

“Choctaw Ridge” plays a prominent role in the song.  Here’s a GE map:

GE choctaw ridge

I’ll close with a couple of GE Panoramio shots.  First this (by Persimmon), of John Hurt’s grave (about 6 miles south of my landing):

pano persimmon

And then this, by Houtexan99, about 10 miles southwest of my landing):

pano houtexan99

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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