First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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 Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2316; A Landing A Day blog post number 747.
My local landing shows two highlights: one of my titular towns (where’s Granite?) and something called “Gutchie Manitou State Monument Park.” Without going into any detail, I will say right now that “Gutchie” is a typo. It’s actually “Gitchie,” as in “by the shores of Gitche Gumee.” More later. Anyway, here ‘tis:
My streams-only map is very simple:
This was my 6th landing in the Big Sioux watershed (my latest was only 6 landings ago); on to the Missouri (417th hit); and, of course, to the MM (904th).
It’s time for that fan-favorite, my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight to extreme NW Iowa. Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.
I managed to get the Orange Dude to within about three quarters of a mile from my landing:
And here’s what he sees:
A Street View-enabled bridge over the Big Sioux is quite close:
And the OD sees this lovely view:
Before I go to all things Gitchie (aka Gitche), here’s a GE shot showing a particular Panoramio shot as well as the “town” of Granite:
In the above shot, my cursor was on a particular Panoramio photo, which is how I discovered the existence of “Good Earth State Park,” and the more mysterious “Blood Run.”
Blood Run is a stream in Iowa about 2 miles north of my landing (that of course discharges to the Big Sioux). According to Wiki, the stream is named for the red soil (and presumably the red clay that is suspended in the stream, turning it red). “Run” is a midwestern term for a small stream.
But more importantly, Blood Run is the name of an archaeological site that spans the Big Sioux in the vicinity of the Run. From Wiki:
The Blood Run Site was continuously populated for 8,500 years, and contains earthwork structures built by the Oneota Culture and occupied by descendant tribes.
Now, wait a second, take a deep breath and think about 8,500 years of continuous occupation. Here in the U.S., anything that’s 200 years old is mighty old to us. In Europe, 1000 years is old, 2000 years (Roman) is ancient. In Egypt, we can go back 5,000 years. So, 8,500 years is nothing to sneeze at.
Figuring 20 years/generation, that’s 425 generations of Indians who lived there!
Back to Wiki:
Although declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970, its integrity is endangered by gravel quarrying and looting. The site was substantially looted and areas wholly destroyed by settlers and looters through the late 1930s and by subsequent generations of collectors. A possible snake mound rivaling the Serpent Mound in Ohio was used for railroad fill.
Blood Run was mapped in the early 18th century by French explorers and about 480 mounds existed and a population of 10,000 Native people was documented. In the late 19th century, 176 mounds were still visible. Today 78 mounds still exist, mostly burial.
And prior to the early 18th century census, there might have been 100,000 people living here before small pox swept through. And then after the census? Likely down to a 1,000 thanks to disease and war. OK, so I made up the numbers, but they’re probably not that far off . . .
Anyway, the Blood Run Site is currently protected by two State Parks: Good Earth in SD, and Gitchie Manitou in Iowa.
When I was meandering around GE, I happened to notice a peculiar bit of dead-end-out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Street View coverage over by Good Earth Park. So I sent the Orange Dude over to check it out:
It’s little more than a mowed path in a field:
And then I stumbled on a young couple, apparently out for a walk (although it looks like the gentleman may be doing something on his handheld device):
I scrolled (strolled?) past the couple, and was amazed that they seemed oblivious to the GoogleCamMobile. I made a quick video, which you can access HERE.
I mean, really! If I were standing out in the middle of a field, and a car came by with a peculiar attachment sticking up out of the roof, I’d at least pay attention. If I realized it was a GoogleCamMobile, I’d be jumping up and down waving. But then, I’m a dork. . .
Amazing, isn’t it, that the GoogleCamMobile driver actually shot a Street View video here?
An excellent photographer (Mike Oistad) took quite the series of photos in the park. They’re not of particular archealogical interest, so I’ll save ‘em for the end of the post.
You may have noted the town of Granite in my GE shot from a ways back. It’s just a couple of miles north of my landing. Here’s a GE close-up:
The hot spot in Granite is Ed & Ruth Hansen’s General Store. Here’ a Pano shot by SShultz:
I like the landscaping (the little tree out front). In a few decades, it’ll be a little more impressive.
So what about the name Granite? Well, I’m not intimately familiar with Iowa bedrock geology, but I really didn’t expect granite to be anywhere around here. Just to double check, I took a look at an Iowa geologic map (Wiki, Bill Whittaker):
Granite is typically very old rock, since it is magma that cools very slowly far down in the earth’s crust, and then takes a long time before it’s uplifted and exposed (typically hundreds of millions, if not billions of years). Well, way up in the northwest corner of Iowa, note that it says “Precambrian.” This is a catch-all term for any rocks older than about 600 million years. (All of the other rocks in Iowa are younger.)
With a little more research, I discovered that the bedrock in the far northwestern corner of Iowa is known as the Sioux Quartzite, which is a layered, pink and whitish rock commonly used as a building stone in the general area.
Generically speaking, a quartzite is a quartz-rich metamorphic rock (typically an ancient sandstone that got squished and melted through the eons). Geologically speaking, it’s not a granite at all, but lay people often call “granite” anything that isn’t a limestone, sandstone, shale or marble – i.e., any igneous rock or any metamorphic rock that looks igneous.
Just go shopping for “granite” counter tops and you’ll see what I mean!
Anyway, I found this picture in a July 2013 SouthDakotaMagazine.com article by Christian Begeman, where he extols the beauty of Sioux Quartzite (the picture shows the banks of the Big Sioux River):
The Gitchie Manitou State Preserve is located in the NW Iowa outcrop area of the Sioux Quartzite and has its own Wiki page:
Gitchie Manitou is a small (91 acre) nature preserve in Lyon County, in the extreme northwestern corner of Iowa just northwest of Granite, Iowa, or just southeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This natural prairie preserve is noted for its ancient Native American burial mounds and Precambrian Sioux Quartzite outcroppings, which are about 1.6 billion years old. The smooth, pink-colored bedrock is the oldest exposed rock in the state.
The parcel was formally dedicated as a geological, archaeological, historical, and biological preserve in 1969. The preserve was named for the creator spirit in Anishinaabe Indian tradition, Gichi-Manidoo (literally “Great Spirit” or “Great Force of Nature”).
Given that Lake Superior is known as Gitche Gumee, it’s pretty obvious that gitche = gitchie = great.
Not only did Mike Oistad take pictures of the Good Earth State Park, he also took pictures at Gitchie Manitou. Here are some of his classy Panoramio shots:
WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULAR BLOGGING FOR THIS BREAKING NEWS STORY!!! AT APPROXIMATELY NOON ON DECEMBER 6, 2016, I WAS UNABLE TO DOWNLOAD GOOGLE EARTH PANORAMIO PHOTOS! AND YES – GOOGLE EARTH HAS SHUT DOWN PANORAMIO!!! THE ICONS REMAIN ON THE MAP, BUT WHEN YOU CLICK ON ONE, ALL YOU SEE IS A BLANK SPACE WHERE THE PICTURE SHOULD BE.
THIS IS TRAGIC NEWS! COUNTLESS BLOGGERS (ESPECIALLY ONE GREG HILL OF A LANDING A DAY FAME) HAVE RELIED ON PANORAMIO PHOTOS FOR YEARS AND YEARS, HUNDREDS OF POSTS, AND THOUSANDS OF PANORAMIO PHOTOS.
Here’s a screen shot I took after searching this subject on today’s (Dec 6) Google News:
However, with some finesse, I was able to do a Google search for Panoramio photos by Mike Oistad (not through Google Earth) and was able to download many of his wonderful shots of my landing vicinity. However, a warning popped up letting me know that Panoramio was shutting down, so this was a temporary work around.
His photos are great, and I’ll present a veritable Oistad feast to close out this post.
My other titular town actually appeared on my local landing map: Larchwood. It’s pretty much hookless, but Wiki did have this to say:
Larchwood (pop 866) was founded about 1872 by Illinois land developers Jesse Fell and Charles Holder.
.Fell was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, and persuaded Lincoln to write his famous autography. He also persuaded Lincoln to challenge his presidential opponent, Stephen A. Douglas to what would become the historically famous series of debates. He was nationally known for his love of trees.
In the summer of 1869 Fell traveled to northwestern Iowa and selected a tract of about forty sections, more than 25,000 acres of land. Fell wrote, “I have never beheld such a large body of surpassingly beautiful prairie as is here to be found. There is absolutely no waste of land, and scarce a quarter of a section not affording an admirable building site.”
Holder then entered the land. Larchwood was established at the center of their holdings. Fell frequently visited the site and in May 0f 1873 personally supervised the planting of some 100,000 saplings and tree cuttings.
Fell’s not a bad looking guy (Wiki photo):
Under “Notable People” from Larchwood is Cheri Blauwet. From Wiki:
Cheri Blauwet (born May 15, 1980) is an American wheelchair racer. She has competed at the Olympic and Paralympic level in events ranging from the 100 meters to the marathon.
Blauwet grew up in Larchwood, Iowa, in a farming family. She began racing in high school, when she was recruited by her school’s track and field coach. She later attended the University of Arizona, where she was a member of the school’s wheelchair racing team
She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in molecular biology. She attended Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her residency including being chief resident in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. She is currently a Fellow in Sports Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).
She competed in her first marathon in Japan in 2002, and two weeks later won the New York City race, her second marathon. She then went on to win the New York City Marathon twice (2002, 2003), the Boston Marathon twice (2004, 2005), and the Los Angeles Marathon four times (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008).
Wow. Another smart jock! (I say “another” because I recently wrote about former Major League Baseball catcher Johnny Bench, who was valedictorian of his Binger, Oklahoma high school class).
Here’s a shot of Dr. Blauwet (from BU.edu – Boston University):
And another – a Reuters photo of her defending her Boston Marathon title in 2005:
And here’s a very cool PBS.org video of Cheri talking about . . . Cheri:
It’s time for closing GE Pano shots (and I really mean closing). Yes. This may be the last GE pano shots posted on this blog. I went a little overboard, but thanks to Mike Oistad, these are good ‘uns. I’ll start in Good Earth State Park, South Dakota:
And I’ll close with some from Gitchie Monitou State Preserve in Iowa, starting with an old house constructed of Sioux Quartzite (and followed by more traditional scenic shots):
Note that interior decoration for the above was provided by FRED.
That’ll do it . . .
© 2016 A Landing A Day