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Archive for February, 2017

Lords Valley, Greeley and the Dingmans Falls Bridge, PA

Posted by graywacke on February 27, 2017

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 2328; A Landing A Day blog post number 759.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long 41o 20.697’N, 75o 0.585’W) puts me in northeast Pennsylvania:


My local map:


OK, so we can’t see the Dingman’s Ferry bridge.  Later, gator.

My streams-only map:


It shows that I landed in the watershed of Birchy Creek; on to Shohola Creek; on to the Delaware River (8th hit).

With no delay, here comes my Google Earth (GE) re-entry trip from the upper atmosphere to NE PA.  Click HERE to take the trip.

As you just saw, I landed in the middle of heavy woodlands.  Guess what?  Even though I have Street View on I-84, there’s nothing to look at, so I won’t bother.

But just a mile SW from my landing, I found this GE Panoramio shot by Oleg March:


Maybe this very bear was stopped dead in his tracks by seeing a huge yellow push-pin in the woods . . .

You also may have noticed three landings in Pennsylvania, all bunched in the northeast corner (the one on the southern boundary is actually in Maryland).  Does the landing god have something against the rest of the state?  (Note that the GE map only shows landings since January 2013 – 351 landings ago.)

Searching for Street View coverage of my watershed streams, I found a Street View near Greeley on a bridge over Shohola Creek.  But it’s a deep wooded valley, so the view from the bridge looks like a dent in the woods.  I won’t bother with that, either.

But I will bother with another GE Pano shot, this one of Shohola Creek (by SwampMudd), 1 mile NW of my landing:


I had to go way up to Barryville NY (on the Delaware River) to find a place for the Orange Dude to see anything worthwhile:


Here’s what the Orange Dude sees, with the discharge point of the Shohola Creek into the Delaware River more-or-less identified:


So, how about Lords Valley?  From Wiki:

Lords Valley’s first resident was Levi Lord in 1810. Levi Lord and eleven friends purchased land in the vicinity of what was to become Lords Valley. Levi Lord built a brick hotel here with his sons, circa 1850.

The building, which was also a post office from 1853 – 1955, is owned by the Glen Eyre Corp. and was listed on the National Historical Registers in 1980.

Here’s a 2001 picture of the Lord house from rootsweb/ancestry.com:


Here’s a GE shot of Lords Valley:


IT LOOKS AWFUL!  I thought this was going to be a historic old town.  Yea, right . . .

And here’s an even closer look:



I plunked the Orange Dude in downtown Lords Valley to check out the scenery.  The main blight on the landscape is a concrete block / cement facility:


Don’t get me wrong.  I know that cement and concrete blocks are important to our economy. And I’m sure that the owners of this facility are doing nothing wrong.  It’s just that I expected more from Lords Valley.  The name is so . . . dignified. 

Anyway, I moved the OD a little up the road to get a look at the house:


And this:



If the Glen Eyre Corp. still owns the house, they should be ashamed!  You’d think that the National Historic Register folks could pull some strings (or do some kind of enforcement action) to get the house repaired.

Oh my.  I just stumbled on a very relevant 2011 news story from the News Eagle – the local rag . . er . . .news website (article by Peter Becker):

No injuries were reported Monday night, March 7, after two pickups collided on SR 739. One of the trucks, however, did substantial damage to a corner of the historic brick Lord House.


Bricks fell from both of the two stories on the northeast corner, leaving a gaping hole. The house has since been shored up with plywood and protected from the elements.

Although currently unoccupied, the Lord House originally was an inn and hotel, built in 1850 by Simeon Lord. In the early 1900’s, Simeon “Sim” Lord Jr. was managing the hotel, and sold gasoline. Sim Lord was remembered for his enjoyment of whistling.

[I guess there are worse things he could have been known for . . . ]

The Lord House served as the Lord’s Valley Post Office for 101 years, until Hawley Post Office took over the routes in 1955. In later years there were offices in the building.

According to Gail Masker, Blooming Grove Township Historian, the Township Supervisors held their meetings there for an estimated 50 years.  In 1980 it was put on the National Historic Register.

Masker, who has lived in the area all her life, recounted fond memories of the Lord House. She said that when she was a girl growing up in the 40’s, she would make daily walks to the Lord House to buy candy. She said it was a small post office, but they also sold such things as bread, candy and cigarettes.

She said it was a much quieter time then with much less traffic. There was no interstate. Route 739 was a dirt road, she said.

Masker was hopeful that the structure could be repaired.

The building is currently owned by the Glen Eyre Corporation. A representative of the corporation declined a request for comment at this time about prospects for repairs and plans for the property.

It’s time to move a few miles north to Greeley.  The only Greeley I know of is Horace.  He was the newspaper man who said “Go west, young man,” right?  From Wiki:

Greeley is named for Horace Greeley (1811 – 1872) an American newspaper editor and a founder of the Liberal Republican Party. The New York Tribune (which he founded and edited) was the US’s most influential newspaper from the 1840s to the 1870s.

[And yes, he did say “Go west, young man.”]

Horace Greeley supported a rural commune known as the Sylvania Colony, located near present-day Greeley.  The commune, for which Horace Greeley served as Treasurer, structured itself in accordance with the radical ideas of Albert Brisbane, who studied Charles Fourier and Karl Marx.

The association purchased 3200 acres in 1842. They subsequently built a small saw mill, two small two story houses, and a small barn. The old mill wall still stands alongside a stream that flows through the township.  It can still be seen near a historical state marker along what is now the junction of Routes 434 and 590. The association eventually failed because the members, unaccustomed to wilderness, failed to plant and harvest sufficient crops in 1845.

Here’s what a historical marker in Greeley says:


Hmmm.  Killing frost in July?  What a bummer.

I’ve run into several utopian communities in my landing adventures.  Even though there were the best of intentions, they all failed . . .

To wrap things up, here’s a local landing map, shifted to the southeast:


You can see that I landed near the Dingman Turnpike, which goes to Dingman’s Ferry, along the Delaware River (with NJ across the river).

This, from Wiki, about the Dingman’s Ferry bridge:

The Dingman’s Ferry Bridge is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States. It is owned and operated by the “Dingmans Choice and Delaware Bridge Company.”

In 1735, Andrew Dingman, a Dutch pioneer, operated a ferry that connected Sussex County NJ to Pike County PA. The ferry thrived for over a century as pioneers utilized this important river crossing to move westward.

In 1836, the first bridge was built by the Dingmans. The first bridge lasted until 1847 when high water washed away the Milford Bridge upstream and swept the debris into Dingman’s Bridge.

A second bridge was soon built, but after a brief life, it was destroyed four or five years later, in a severe windstorm.

A third bridge was constructed in 1856, but, being of poor quality, it fell apart by 1862.

[Geez.  They should have hired a real engineer . . . ]

The ferry was operated once again by the Dingmans until the property was sold in 1875 to John Kilsby, whose family operated the ferry until the turn of the twentieth century when the current bridge was constructed using some materials recycled from a railroad bridge on the Susquehanna River. This bridge has survived major floods in 1903, 1955, 2005, and 2006.

Records from an early log book show tolls of 40 cents for a horseless carriage, 25 cents for a two-horse wagon, 10 cents for a horse and rider, 5 cents for a bicycle, and 2 cents for a footman. Under the terms of the original charter, no toll was charged for school children or individuals traveling to church or a funeral  This custom is still practiced.

Today, the bridge provides an important link for commuters to reach destinations in New Jersey and New York City. The bridge lies south of the current Milford Bridge, and well north of the Interstate 80 bridge at the Delaware Water Gap. As such, it is in a location which caters well to the commuter lifestyle of many area residents of Delaware Township, Dingman Township, and other surrounding communities.

Today’s tolls are not much higher than previously noted. Automobiles pay $1.00. Bicyclists may cross for free, but pedestrians are not allowed due to the narrow lanes.

Christmas Day is the only day of the year which finds the toll booth unmanned; everyone may cross for free. Dingman’s Bridge is also remarkable in that there is a single toll collector who stands in between the single lanes of traffic, collecting toll fees by hand.

Because the Bridge Company is responsible for its own repairs, it employs an engineering firm certified for bridge inspection to regularly and thoroughly inspect the bridge from the tops of the trusses to the underwater foundations.

Each year, the bridge company closes the bridge the second week after Labor Day to conduct any repairs needed to maintain the structural integrity of the bridge. These floor boards are held in place with anchor plates and collar nails which results in a characteristic rattling of the deck with the traffic moving.

Here are some GE Panoramio shots of the bridge.  First this, by RLBookMD of the toll booth:


And this, showing the wooden floor of the bridge (by Princessunflower):


And this lovely shot of the bridge, by Charlie Anzman:



Calm down, old man (I’m talking to myself). It’s time for some GE Pano shots closer to my landing, and it turns out that there’s a scenic waterfall not far from my landing, Shohola Falls:


First this, by Aaron Nuffer:


And another by Aaron:


And this, by long-time ALAD contributor, Chris Sanfino (OK, so it’s a scene close to the falls):


And I’ll close with this one by Clock Doc (making me think of my dear departed friend Mike Kinney, a master clock builder/repairman):


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Keyes, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on February 23, 2017

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 2327; A Landing A Day blog post number 758.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long 36o 48.889’N, 102o 15.464’W) puts me in the Oklahoma Panhandle:


Here’s my local (very local) landing map:


No doubt about which town to feature, eh?

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the North Canadian River (18th hit):


As you can see, the North Canadian flows to the Canadian (47th hit); on to the Arkansas (125th hit); on, of course, to the MM (908th hit).

Looking  at the above map got me to thinking.  Obviously, the Arkansas River is appropriately named, running right through the heart of Arkansas.  But the Canadian River?  Why not the Oklahoma River, running right through the heart of Oklahoma?

Well, here’s what Wiki has to say about the name:

It is unclear why the river is called the Canadian. On John C. Fremont’s route map of 1845, the river’s name is listed as “Goo-al-pah or Canadian River.”  “Goo-al-pah” is from the Comanche and Kiowa name for the river.

[OK, but from whence cometh “Canadian?”]

In 1929 Muriel Wright wrote that the Canadian River was named about 1820 by French traders who noted another group of traders from Canada (Canadiens) had camped on the river near its confluence with the Arkansas River.  [Or alternately, I would think, the traders from Canada simply named the river after themselves.]

[That’s explanation # 1.]

According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Spanish explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries called it the Rio Buenaventura and the Magdalena.  The upper part was called Rio Colorado by the Spanish.

[No explanation here.]

A more recent explanation comes from William Bright, who wrote that the name is “probably derived from Río Canadiano”, a Spanish spelling of the Caddo word káyántinu, which was the Caddos’ name for the nearby Red River.

[Explanation #2.]

The name could be of Spanish origin from the word cañada (meaning “glen”), as the Canadian River formed a steep canyon in northern New Mexico and a somewhat broad canyon in Texas. A few historical records document this explanation.

[Explanation #3.]

You know what?  If I had to choose, I’d go with #3.  WordReference.com confirms that cañada means small valley, ravine or narrow pass.  But my bottom line is this:  too bad somebody didn’t think of “Oklahoma!”

By the way, “Oklahoma” is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning “red people.”

Time to strap yourself and go for a ride. Click HERE.

Since I landed so close to Keyes, one would figure I have decent Street View coverage.  One would be right:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


I have to travel some distance to get a look at the North Canadian River:


And here’s what the OD sees, looking upstream:


I don’t see any water, do you?  Anyway, let’s look downstream:


I guess these guys are pretty damn confident that there’s no significant rain in the forecast!

There’s not much to say about Keyes (pop 324).  But before going to Wiki, I’ll post this pleasant little jaunt through Keyes, courtesy of KSpangler1977:


Now it’s Wiki time, which (who?) says that Keyes was named after a “deceased railroad engineer.”  Wiki goes on to say:

The town’s location in the Hugoton Friedrich Basin makes it an ideal source for helium production from natural gas. A helium plant was built near Keyes in 1958.  169 million cubic feet of liquid helium is produced annually by the Keyes Helium Company.

Two things:  I don’t know squat about where & how we get our helium, and 169 million cubic feet of liquid helium sounds like a helluva lot.  To get a handle on helium quantities produced, this from Wiki:

In 2008, worldwide, approximately 169 million cubic meters of helium were extracted from natural gas or withdrawn from helium reserves, with approximately 78% from the United States

There are about 35 cubic feet in a cubic meter, so 35 x 169,000,000 = 60,000,000,000 (or 60 billion) cubic feet for the world, and about 47 billion for the U.S.  I guess 169 million cubic feet (or about 0.4% of the US production) makes sense. 

Most interestingly, Wiki refers to “helium production from natural gas.”  Really?  Well, I’ll start with the “helium” entry for Wiki:

Helium is a chemical element with symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas, the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements.

A helium atom consists of two protons, two neutrons and [of course], two electrons.

After hydrogen, helium is the second lightest and second most abundant element in the observable universe, being present at about 24% of the total elemental mass, which is more than 12 times the mass of all the heavier elements combined.

History of Helium Production

After an oil drilling operation in 1903 in Dexter, Kansas, produced a gas geyser that would not burn, Kansas state geologist Erasmus Haworth collected samples of the escaping gas and took them back to the University of Kansas at Lawrence where, he discovered that the gas consisted of, by volume, 72% nitrogen, 15% methane [the typical natural gas compound, but not enough for the gas to catch fire], 1.8% helium, 1% hydrogen, and the remainder unidentifiable. This showed that despite its overall rarity on Earth, helium was concentrated in large quantities under the American Great Plains, available for extraction as a byproduct of natural gas.

On Earth it is relatively rare—5.2 ppm by volume in the atmosphere. Most terrestrial helium present today is created by the natural radioactive decay of heavy radioactive elements (primarily thorium and uranium). This radiogenic helium may be trapped with natural gas in concentrations as high as 7%, although concentrations as low as 0.3% can be economically recovered.

[The Oklahoma Panhandle contains gas deposits with helium concentrations as high as 2%.]

This is all pretty interesting to me.  Let me make sure that my readers know what the word “trapped” means as used above.  When natural gas is produced by decaying vegetative matter in rocks, it tends to rise through cracks in the rock, or between grains within the rock.  Obviously, some will simply rise like that until it is discharged to the atmosphere. 

But lucky for us, some is trapped.  Conceptually, this means that the natural gas rises until it “bumps into” an overlying geologic formation that is very dense, aka non-permeable.  And then, if the overlying cap bows upward, forming a dome, more and more natural gas will become trapped under the dome, making the trap a subsurface reservoir that can be drilled into and tapped for natural gas production.

So how is the helium trapped with the natural gas in the Oklahoma Panhandle?  Let’s look at a cross-section from the Anadarko Petroleum Coporation:


Notice in the upper left, it says “Panhandle Field.”  That’s another name for the Hugoton Field.  You’ll also note the orange layer of rock titled “Early Permian Carbonates.”  Carbonates are limestone, and this limestone formation (which is several hundreds of feet thick) is permeable; i.e., fluids can readily flow through the formation.

You’ll note that above the Early Permian Carbonates are the “Middle Permian Evaporites.”  An evaporate is a formation that is left behind when an inland (typically salty) sea evaporates.  Evaporites are typically non-permeable, so this formation forms the cap.

Through the eons, natural gas (and helium) that was released from deeper formations rose up until it became trapped in the dome formed by the “Amarillo Uplift,” associated with the building of the Witchita Mountains (which are at the surface in SW Oklahoma). 

And then, somebody smart drilled a well down to the carbonate formation at the dome & the rest is history.

Did we all learn something today class?  I can see by the nodding heads that we did!  Excellent!

It’s time for a couple of GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with this, by DeGlobalNomad, taken just SW of Keyes:


And this, taken a few miles further SW, by TomWint55:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Bob White, Uneeda, Gordan and Van, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on February 17, 2017

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 2326; A Landing A Day blog post number 757.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long 37o 58.910’N, 81o 43.142’W) puts me in SW West Virginia:


Here’s my local landing map:


My watershed analysis is as follows:


I landed in the watershed of (and right next to) the Pond Fork of the Little Coal River (2nd hit); on to the Little Coal River (3rd hit); on to the Coal River (4th hit); on to the Kanawha River (14th hit); on to the Ohio River (141st hit).

Of course, the Ohio discharges to the MM (907th hit).

It’s time to wrap your legs around the Google Earth (GE) yellow push pin, and ride, bronco style, on into the hills and valleys of southwest WV.  Click HERE to do so.

Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking down the Pond Fork valley, past Van and my landing:


You may have noticed that a road (WV State Route 85) runs right past my landing.  Since it’s a State Route (and not a measly county road), it seems like a good bet for Street View coverage:


Sure ‘nuf; and here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


I’ll send the OD down to Van, where Route 85 crosses the Pond Fork:


And here’s what he sees (looking downstream):


So how about my titular towns?  Well, I could find out nothing about Bob White WV, except that it’s an unincorporated town (no population data), and (according to Wiki), most of the residents work in coal mines (no surprise there).

Actually, it looks fairly substantial:


I found a You Tube video entitled “Explosion in Bob White, WV,” posted by AppalachianVoices (an environmental group that opposes the “mountain removal” method of coal mining).


The description on You Tube:

From the front porch of Maria Gunnoe’s home in Bob White, WV this mountaintop removal site was recorded. Courtesy of Maria Gunnoe, Community Organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

Here’s a GE shot of a large coal mine near Bob White (about 1.5 miles end to end), likely the site of the above explosion:


So what about the name Bob White?  I could find absolutely nothing about it.  I thought of the bird of the same name, but realized that the name of the bird is one word:  bobwhite.  So, it’s the official ALAD verdict that the town of Bob White is named after some guy named Bob White, lost to internet history.

I’ll move downstream (bypassing Van and Gordon for now), and settle in on Uneeda:


Uneeda looks like Bob White, and like Bob White, Uneeda is unincorporated, with no population data.  But Wiki got wild and crazy, and had this to say:

The community was named after a brand of biscuit, Uneeda.

I guess I strongly suspected that that must be the case.   I mean, after all, where else would the name Uneeda come from? 

I’m sure that some (if not most) of my readers remember Uneeda Biscuits.  The product was discontinued in 2008; here’s a fairly recent package (on flickr by Lisabelladesanto):


My wife Jody & I both remember these biscuits, but mainly from our childhood. 

They’ve been around since the late 1800s.  Here’s a 1923 tin on sale on Ebay for a lousy $8.99:


Here comes my ALAD town-naming story (yea, this is too easy):

Around the turn of the 20th century, as increased demand for coal, advances in mining technology, and the development of a robust railroad system for transport all came together, small coal mining communities began to pop up in Boone County (and neighboring counties) in southwest West Virginia.

One of these small communities took root in a wide spot on the floodplain of the Pond Fork, within a few miles of two burgeoning coal mines.  An informal governing body was convened, comprised of the major landowners in the new town. 

[OK, OK, I’ll cut to the chase.]

They couldn’t agree on a new name, so they took a break.  One of the wives who was present was in charge of refreshments, and decided to serve coffee and biscuits.

[It’s OK to be sexist when you’re talking about turn of the century, right?]

And you guessed it – she served Uneeda Biscuits. 

She suddenly had an idea and said (as she held up the biscuit tin), “You need a name? Why looky here.  How about Uneeda?”

Done deal, and the rest is history.

It’s time to make a quick stop in Gordon:


Nothing much to say about Gordon, except that Wiki has a straightforward naming story:

Gordon was named in 1883-1884 by Asa White, the postmaster, after a favorite nephew, Gordon Mason.

OK.  time to move to our final stop, Van:


Van has the local high school.  See the football field?  Anyway, from Wiki, under Notable Residents:

Hasil Adkins – Appalachian Rockabilly one man band who recorded many songs, appeared in movies and TV shows and was featured in a documentary, “The Wild World Of Hasil Adkins.”

Sounds interesting.  His name was wiki-click-able, so I wiki-clicked.  Here are some excerpts:

Adkins was born in Boone County, West Virginia on April 29, 1937, where he spent his entire life [just outside of Van, I think].  He was the youngest of ten children of Wid Adkins, a coal miner, and Alice Adkins, raised in a tarpaper shack on property rented from a local coal company.  Adkins’ early life was stricken by poverty.  His parents were unable to provide him shoes until he was four or five years old.  Some reports say he attended school for a very brief time, as few as two days of first grade.

Adkins’ given name, Hasil, pronounced “Hassel”, was often mispronounced.  One of his brothers was named Basil, similarly pronounced “Bassel”.  Hasil dated a girl named Hazel, and was later given the nickname The Haze.   As he explained it, the nickname came about “’cause Starlight records wanted something catchy.”

Hasil Adkins loved to eat meat, specifically poultry, the subject of many of his songs.  Following the release of a 2000 album, “Poultry in Motion,” Adkins toured with “dancing go-go chicken” dancers.  His diet also reportedly consisted of as much as two gallons of coffee a day, and copious amounts of liquor and cigarettes.

Well, what the heck.  I’ll interrupt Wiki with a pertinent YouTube video:


Back to Wiki:

Adkins was said to have suffered from manic depression and insomnia among other mental illnesses.  He never married.

On April 15, 2005, Adkins was deliberately run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV.  Ten days later, on April 26, Adkins was found dead in his home, two days before his 68th birthday.

In another account of his death, it was stated that he died of lung cancer. . .

Back to Wiki about his musical style:

Frenetic in progression and explicit in lyrical content, Adkins was known for having an unconventional take on traditional rockabilly.  His unpolished sound was a praised by-product of the makeshift studio equipment used for the majority of his career. “I didn’t try to be primitive, I just had bad microphones”, he wrote.

His lyrics explored topics such as eating peanut butter on the moon and the suggestive strut of a chicken.  Recurring themes in Adkins’ catalogue included sex, heartbreak, decapitation, aliens, hot dogs and poultry.

[Decapitation?  Check out “No More Hot Dogs” on You tube if you dare.]

Together with country and honky-tonk, Adkins’ assortment of styles helped delineate a genre known as psychobilly.

He played and recorded in relative obscurity in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  But in the 80s, he was “discovered,” developed a cult following, and played in clubs all around the country.

Here’s a Wiki shot of Hasil in 1993:


And one of him performing in Baltimore on the guitar & drums in 2003 (also Wiki):


And here’s a great album cover:


What the heck – with some trepidation, I’ll post another of his YouTube videos.  The words are tough to understand (but I checked out the lyrics and they’re not too bad).  Here’s Hasil playing “She Said.”

(Do a Google search for Hasil Adkins lyrics she said, if you want to read along.)

There is a documentary film about Hasil’s life called My Blue Star.  Actually, I’m not sure if the film was ever completed, but I am sure that a 9 minute trailer for the film was.  It’s on You Tube and is worth seeing to get a real feel for Hasil.  This is for mature audiences, so you’re on your own (but just go to You Tube and search for Hasil Adkins and look for My Blue Star).  It’s actually quite compelling.

Enough Hasil. It’s time for some GE Pano shots.  It turns out that the good folks within about 10 miles of my landing aren’t really into photography.  But at distances of 10-15 miles from my landing, I found a few.  Here’s one by Sean Rose of a stream a couple of watersheds to the east:


And this, by Kenneth King, or a stream a couple of watersheds to the southwest:


And this lovely shot, by Brian Humphreys, taken about 12 miles to the northeast:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Antimony and Fish Lake, Utah

Posted by graywacke on February 13, 2017

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 2325; A Landing A Day blog post number 756.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long 38o 8.588’N, 111o 57.867’W) puts me in S-Cen Utah:


My local landing map shows my proximity to the titular Antimony:


Here’s my local streams-only map:


You can see that I landed in the watershed of the East Fork of Sevier River (2nd hit); on to the Sevier (12th hit).  Zooming back, you can see that the Sevier (poor thing) never makes it out of Utah:


It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight.  Click HERE to zoom on in to today’s landing spot.

Street View coverage is so-so.  I couldn’t get the Orange Dude any closer than about 2 miles from my landing:


And here’s what he sees:


I sent the OD a few miles upstream to get a look at the East Fork of the Sevier River:


And here’s what he sees looking north (upstream):


And looking south:


Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking northeast past Antimony and across the East Fork Sevier valley:


So, what about Antimony?  Well, it turns out that quite a ways back (December 2009, landing 1827, blog post 245), I landed close to Antimony:


Remember that I said this was my second landing in the East Fork Sevier watershed?  Well, landing 1827 was my first. 

And from that post, this from UtahOnLine:

In early 1873 about twenty-two men, arrived in what would become Antimony while on a peace-keeping mission with the Fish Lake Indians. 

While near the present site of Antimony they caught and earmarked several coyote pups.

[Caught and earmarked coyote pups?  Why would rough and tumble pioneers on a “peace keeping mission” with the Indians “catch and earmark” coyote pups?  I really doubt it was advancement of scientific research about coyote habitats and lifestyles . . . ]

This incident led to the town founded at the site to be named Coyote.

[ALAD doesn’t think so.  Coyote’s a great name, likely due to a plethora of coyotes living in the East Fork Sevier river valley.  Earmarked pups just doesn’t cut it!]

The meadowlands were used as early as 1873 for grazing and several families moved here in 1878.

In 1880 antimony (stibnite), a metal used in the making of alloys, was discovered in nearby Coyote Canyon, so Coyote became a mining town as well as a ranching community. 1n 1921 the town of Coyote was renamed Antimony after the metal mined in the area.

Doh!  Coyote is way better.  Oh, well . . .

One other point.  UtahOnLine doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  A victim of the budget cutter’s axe?  I’m a little surprised, given the Mormon dominance in all things Utahan.  After all, the Mormons are very big into history and lineages.

Following any little lead, I Googled “Fish Lake Indians.”  Evidently, based on the lack of any internet presence, the Fish Lake Indians were a White Man’s label, or a small band of Indians (likely part of a larger tribe) that isn’t seriously recognized by any descendants.

However, I did find that there is a Fish Lake (about 30 miles north of my landing):


And, at Fish Lake, there is a plaque commemorating a peace treaty with the “Fish Lake Indians,” with the same date as mentioned above, 1873.  Here’s the plaque (from Waymarking.com):


It says (in part):

Peace Treaty
With Fish Lake Indians
Was Made Here
June 14, 1873

This treaty led up to the final treaty at Cedar Grove in Grass Valley July 1, 1873, ending the Black Hawk Indian War in Southern Utah.

OK, so the 1873 “peacekeeping mission” makes sense, but I can’t buy the earmarked coyote pups part . . .

Although UtahOnline doesn’t seem to exist, I did find ILoveHistory.Utah.gov (an educational website).  I searched for “Fish Lake” and found this:

In 1889, farmers in the Fish Lake vicinity banded together to form a new irrigation company–the Fremont Irrigation Company. They wanted to work together to build reservoirs and canals to get water on their land.

But they needed to own the water. In order to make sure they would have no trouble using the water from Fish Lake, they bought the “outlet” of the lake from local Indians – Paiutes and Utes who had for generations fished in the lake and hunted in the area around it.

Only eight Indians signed the agreement, so we don’t know what others thought about it. Through the agreement, they kept their rights to fish in the lake, but that didn’t last long. Soon enough, both Utes and Paiutes would be forced to live on reservations.

The article has a picture of Tom (with caption below):


Tom (as the Anglo settlers called him) was a Paiute who was over 100 years old in this picture. His name is on the deed selling Fish Lake water to the Fremont Irrigation Company.

In another article from the same site, the same picture appears, but this time with this caption:

“Tom,” a Paiute who lived to be 112 years old. His name is on the deed giving Fish Lake to the Mormons.

The actual agreement is posted on the website:


The transcript:

Loa Piute Co Utah, March 1st 1889

Artickels of Agreement

Between the Indians Poganib Bob and other owners by Descent of The Out Let of Fish Lake – and the Fremont Eragation Companys – That we the Above named Indians Do This Day Sell all our Right and title also all our airs and assigns to the Said Fremont Eragation Company [while allowing the Indians] to Fish in Said Out Let of Said Lake for Ever. For an In Consideration of

9 Nine horses
500 lbs of flour
1 good Beef Stear
1 Suit of Close

By us this Day Receved of Said Company – of our own free will and accord

Witness our hand or Mark
Signed in present of

E. H. Blackburn
Seth Taft
H. J. McClellan
Geo. W Shiner
Alonzo Blackburn
F. Archie Young

Poge Neab (his mark)
Bob   his mark
Toanolk   his mark
Gr atchout  (his mark)
Tom     his mark
Joe    his mark
Gray Head     his mark
Timacant    his mark

Notice that the terms of the agreement don’t really make sense unless you add in the phrase “while allowing the Indians” (which I did).

By the way, ILoveHistory.utah.gov is a great site, with great detail.  I told you the Mormons care about history!

While checking out Fish Lake, I couldn’t help but take a quick look at some GE Panoramio shots, showing that this is a truly lovely lake.  First this (by John Roberts):


And then this (by K Sampson):


I’d never guess this was Utah!  Given a choice, I’d guess the Adirondacks!

And then, while perusing the Pano photos, I put my cursor on an icon southwest of the lake:


You see that it says “Pando.”  There are five photos embedded under the icon, all by Mukil Elango.  Here’s the one that first pops up when you click on the icon:


What a great photo!  And then this, also titled Pando:


And this, titled “Trembling Giant:”


I love the photos, but what’s Pando and the Trembling Giant?  I had no idea.  So I Googled “Pando” and was amazed to learn what this is all about.  From Wiki:

Pando (Latin for “I spread”), also known as the Trembling Giant, is a 106-acre clonal colony of a single male quaking aspen located in Wayne County, Utah near Fish Lake.  This colony has been determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers; it is assumed to have one massive underground root system. It is composed of approximately 40,000 tree trunks.

The plant is estimated to weigh 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest known organism.  The root system of Pando, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the oldest known living organisms (although some scientists have claimed that the organism could be 1 million years old).

Just for the record, a tree fungus (i.e., mushroom colony) in Oregon is generally accepted to be the world’s largest organism, occupying some 2,384 acres.  But it’s not as heavy and not as old, so my vote (at least for the coolest huge organism) goes to the Trembling Giant.

Back to Antimony (and excerpts from my earlier Antimony post):

Moving right along . . . there is an “Archibald Hunter” collection of historical documents maintained by the State of Utah.  This is from a write-up about old Archibald [by the way, this time around I couldn’t find this document on the internet, except referenced in some crazy blog called “A Landing A Day”].  By the way, the following is a little long, but worth the read.  Just take your time . . .

Some ten thousand Mormon converts from Scotland emigrated to the United States by 1900. While Archibald Hunter was not a member of that church it seems likely that his arrival in this country at age eight and his eventual arrival in Utah must have been at least partly a result of Mormon influence (although a religious motive for emigration is not required, for Scotland was poor and the Hunter family was large).

If Hunter’s reasons for emigration to this country are not fully known, neither are his early travels after arriving in Boston in 1851. His obituary reports that he remained in that city only briefly, then headed for Utah. Where he lived and how he supported himself in Utah for perhaps the next ten years is not clear, and he left in 1862 for the mining camps of Nevada.

He may have been successful in mining, for in 1874 he returned to Utah, taking up residence in Sevier County as a breeder of blooded race horses. In 1879 he joined the settlers in the Garfield County community known variously as Clover Flat, Grass Valley, Coyote, and, after 1920, Antimony. He spent the rest of his life there, supporting himself by various mining speculations, running a hotel, and raising and exporting to Scotland his fine horses.

One could hardly invent a person with a background seemingly less likely to harmonize with Antimony community life than Archibald Hunter. The settlement was composed primarily of exceptionally devout Mormons who had moved there from the United Order of Enoch (the Mormons’ communitarian order) at Kingston just barely before Hunter arrived.  Hunter was not a Mormon, a foreign immigrant, an Odd Fellow, a life-long bachelor, and an ardent Socialist.

The latter affiliation is probably the reason for his taking up residence in Antimony, for the Socialist Party was strong in that area, and he may have been attracted not only by the good pasture but by the compatible political climate as well. At any rate, cultural differences proved to be unimportant, and Hunter quickly became a valued neighbor and respected pillar of the community

Archibald Hunter died in Antimony in 1931.

But wait, maybe it isn’t so strange that Archibald was comfortable amongst the Mormons in Antimony.  From Wiki, this about the Mormon United Order:

The United Order established egalitarian communities designed to achieve income equality, eliminate poverty, increase group self-sufficiency, and to ultimately create an ideal utopian society Mormons referred to as Zion. The movement had much in common with other utopian societies formed in the United States and Europe during the first half of the 19th century.

The United Order is not practiced within mainstream Mormonism today; however, a number of groups of Mormon fundamentalists, such as the Apostolic United Brethren, have revived the practice.

Sounds totally socialist, eh?  (Especially the part about “egalitarian communities” and “income equality”.)  Not exactly compatible with the conservative politics of the Mormon church!

I’ve heard about Odd Fellows, but don’t know anything about them.  From Wiki:

The name Odd Fellows refers to a number of friendly societies that originated in the United Kingdom, with Lodges that date back to the 1700s.  These various organizations were set up to protect and care for their members at a time when there was no welfare state, trade unions or National Health Service. The aim was (and still is) to provide help to members when they need it. 

The “friendly societies” (like the Odd Fellows) are non-profit mutual organizations owned by their members.  All income is passed back to the members in the form of services and benefits. 

[See the socialist connection?]

The Odd Fellows are fundraisers for both local and national charities.  Branches raise money for local causes and the Societies as a whole raise significant amounts for charities.

Name origins:  In smaller towns and villages, there weren’t enough Fellows from the same trade to set up a local Guild, so Fellows from a number of trades banded together to form a local Guild of Fellows from an odd assortment of trades. Hence, Guilds of Odd Fellows.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is big in the U.S. (and Archibald was a member of the IOOF).  Check out the various symbols that associated with the IOOF:


Looks like it’s right up Dan Brown’s alley . . .by the way, FLT stands for friendship, love and truth.

Back to now, and it’s time for some nearby GE Pano shots. I’ll start in the “town” of Osiris, 7 miles south of Antimony.  Osiris shows up on neither StreetAtlas nor GE.  But there’s a very cool “creamery” building here that supported the local dairy farmers (later converted to a grain processing facility).

Here’s a shot of the creamery by that long-time ALAD contributer, LSessions:


And here’s another, by Ron Broad:


Leaving Osiris (and getting closer to my landing), here’s a Pano shot of the East Fork of the Sevier, by Elifino 57 (about 6 miles NW of my landing):


And another local shot, by Ron Broad (about 3 miles NW of my landing):


I’ll close with this one by Teek4, taken about 5 miles SE of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Black Hills, Wyoming (and South Dakota)

Posted by graywacke on February 8, 2017

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 2324; A Landing A Day blog post number 755.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (44o 15.219’N, 104o 5.693’W) puts me right on the WY/SD border, but evidently in WY based on the title of this post:


Now wait a second.  This is landing 2324.  Just one landing ago (landing 2323, of course), I said this:

Today’s lat/long (46o 59.713’N, 115o 5.323’W) puts me right on the ID/MT border, but evidently in ID based on the title of this post:


And then, just a few landings ago (landing 2318), I said this:

Today’s lat/long (33o 28.047’N, 103o 1.395’W) puts me right on the border between New Mexico & Texas, but evidently in Texas based on the title of this post:


And then, just one landing earlier (2317), I said this:

Today’s lat/long (43o 26.229’N, 96o 34.897’W) puts me right on the border between Florida & Georgia, but evidently in Georgia based on the title of this post:


And the above doesn’t include landing 2320, where I said this:

Today’s lat/long (48o 55.744’N, 120o 28.710’W) puts me right up against the Canadian border in N-Cen Washington:


All I can say is:  This is a remarkable run of truly right-on-theborder landings!

Ça suffit. (“That’s enough” in French, also the name of one of our dogs.  Pronounced sah soo-fee.)

Here’s my local landing map, confirming that I in fact landed in Wyoming:


As you can see, it’s not at all obvious that I’m in the Black Hills, although it will be obvious soon enough.

And it’s finally time for my watershed analysis.  And a drop of water makes it to 8 (count ‘em) 8 named streams.  This map shows the first five:


I landed in the watershed of Cold Springs Creek, on to Sand Creek, on to Redwater Creek, on to the Redwater River (1st hit ever!), on to the Bell Fourche River (5th hit, making the Bell Fourche the 168th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits).

Zooming back:


You can see that the Bell Fourche discharges to the Cheyenne (19th hit); on to the Missouri (418th hit); and on to the 8th named stream, none other than the Mighty Mississippi (906th hit).

For the record, out of 2324 landings, this is the 20th time I’ve had 8 named streams in my watershed analysis.  Nine named streams?  Three times.  Ten named streams?  Three times.  Eleven named streams?  Never.

Oh, all right.  I’m on a roll.  I’ve logged 8,437 named streams in all of my watershed analyses.  Dividing by 2324 landings, that comes to 3.63 named streams per landing.

Ça suffit!

It’s time (way past time, some readers might be thinking) for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight into far eastern Wyoming.  Click HERE to enjoy the trip.

You may have noticed the big dark blob on your ride in on the yellow push pin.  That’s the Black Hills.  Here’s a static GE shot, with bonus coverage of the South Dakota Badlands:


I won’t bother with Street View coverage of my landing (it’s non-existant), but I will take a look at Sand Creek:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


After the Orange Dude looked at the stream, I had him take a quick stroll through the teeny town of Beulah, just east of the bridge.  Here’s what he saw:


And this:


Hmmmm.  A biker bar, eh?  Well, we’re only about 30 miles west of Sturgis SD, which has an enormous motorcycle rally every August.  The date of the Street View photos?  August 2012. 

So anyway, I landed in the Black Hills, and decided to titularize* the entire region, rather than any particular towns.  I’ll actually be spending more time in South Dakota than in Wyoming, but it’s all about the Black Hills, not a particular state.

          *Don’t bother looking up “titularize.”  I made it up.

 I’ll be covering geology, Native American history, white man history and my personal connection to the Black Hills.

Here’s the opening Wiki paragraph on the Black Hills:

The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming.  The name “Black Hills” is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees [and still are, as evidenced by GE].

Pahá Sápa.  Boy, that takes me back to the summer of 1975.  I was at Kent State University’s Black Hills geology field camp, a six-week course of study to learn methods in geologic descriptions and mapping (and I mapped the Pahá Sápa Limestone formation, but I’m sure I didn’t add the accents).

But before I go into my personal connection with the Black Hills (and the Paha Sapa Limestone), let me get to more general Black Hills geology.

From Northern State University:

Toward the end of the Cretaceous [about 65 million years ago, more-or-less at the time of the great meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs], the Black Hills were thrust up during a period of mountain building. This mountain building episode coincides with mountain building going on for the Rocky Mountains, even though the Black Hills are separated from the nearest Rocky Mountain Range (the Wind River Range in Central WY), by more than 150 miles.

At that time the highest Black Hills elevations were probably over 15,000 feet above mean sea level.

[Wow!  The Black Hills were certainly the Black Mountains back in the day!]

Over time, this uplifted dome was eroded down to its present elevation, with the highest Black Hills peak at elevation 7,244’.

The oldest rocks are found in the center of the uplifted, eroded dome. These rocks are metamorphic, mostly slates and quartzites, and are over 2 billion years old. Intruded into these are granites, such as one sees at Harney Peak and Mount Rushmore.

Moving out from the central core of the Black Hills, one encounters progressively younger formations encircling one another.

I always imagined this as a fist of old rock punching up through (and bending/breaking) younger rock layers.  Here’s a cross section from University of South Florida:


Unit 1 is likely the 2 billion-year-old metamorphic rock formation, while unit 2 is the granite that intruded.

The other units are all sedimentary, ranging in age from Cambrian (Unit 3 at around 500 million years old) to Jurassic (Unit 10 at around 175 million years old).  You can see all of the erosion that took place (and why the mountains used to be at an elevation of 15,000′).

Even though I’m a geologist, I never memorized the geologic time scale, so I always have to bring one up on my computer.  Here’s the one I happened to use:


As all regular readers know, I assiduously avoid controversy on this blog, especially of a religious or political nature.  But I must say:  All of the ages on the above figure (including the age of the earth at 4.6 billion years) are facts.  Day follows night, the earth orbits the sun, and gravity causes objects to fall to earth.  Likewise, the earth is 4.6 billion years old.  This is not something I believe.  This is simply a fact.

I think I’ll dive right in to some personal stories about my 1975 experience at Kent State’s geology field camp in the Black Hills.

When I was there, the Paha Sapa Limestone was far and away my favorite geologic unit in the Black Hills, for two reasons.  One, I loved the name (and saying the name), and two, it was easy to recognize out in the field.  So we’d be wandering around at a mapping location, confused as hell about what geologic units we were looking at, when we’d come across a lovely outcropping of the Paha Sapa Limestone.  Then (because the stratigraphy is very regular), we could determine what units were above and below the Paha Sapa.

One of our mapping areas was Little Elk Creek Canyon.  It took quite a while to find it on GE, but find it I did.  Here ‘tis:


We had to map the walls of the canyon, showing all of the geologic formations along the way.  I’m guessing a little about our start and finish pints, but what I show is just a little over a mile (which seems about right).

I found a couple of GE Panoramio photos in the canyon, both by Alan Aker.  Here’s what he labeled one of them:


Hmmmm.  Limestone, eh?  Betcha it’s the Paha Sapa . . .


OK, so maybe I’m not totaly sure it’s the Paha Sapa, but for the purpose of this blog, let’s just say it is. 

Anyway, see the photo icon under the word “limestone” on the GE shot above the photo?  Here’s another Alan Aker shot:


Believe it or not, this spot actually looks familiar.  I feel like I sat on the big rock on the right. What the heck, it was only 42 years ago!

So, another mapping project was Whitewood Peak (just outside of the town of Deadwood):


Just a quick story.  I was part of a three-person mapping team, armed with a topographic map (so we could keep track of where we are).  Our task was to plot geologic formations and any geologic features (like folds or faults) on the map.

Well, we went up a ridge, and down into a valley.  Then up another ridge, and down to another valley.  Maybe another ridge, I don’t remember.  But what I remember is that in spite of being in possession of a good map and a compass, we became hopelessly lost, unable to figure out where we were on the map.

This isn’t a minor problem – this is a we’re-going-to-flunk-this-project kind of a problem.  You can’t put geologic formations on a map when you don’t know where you are.

In a growing panic, we decided to find a high spot, where maybe we’d be able to get our bearings.  We found a high spot, but were still clueless. 

We found a higher spot, and were still clueless. 

We found a higher spot yet, and were still lost until we found a U.S. Geological Survey bench mark.  In a total are-you-kidding-me moment, we saw that the bench mark was labeled “Whitewood Peak.”  We finally knew where we were.

Although we had wasted some number of hours wandering around lost, we were able to get enough information on our map (plus a little more information from another team we ran into) that we got by.

Another mapping project was Bear Butte:


You can see that it’s not part of the Black Hills proper.  Here are a few pictures of Bear Butte from South Dakota Magazine (photos by Jan Nickelson):




From Wiki:

Bear Butte is located near Sturgis, South Dakota.  An important landmark and religious site for the Plains Indians tribes long before Europeans reached South Dakota, Bear Butte is called Mathó Pahá, Bear Mountain, by the Lakota and Sioux. To the Cheyenne, it is known as Noahȧ-vose (“giving hill”) or Náhkȯhe-vose (“bear hill”), and is the place where Ma’heo’o (God) imparted to Sweet Medicine, a Cheyenne prophet, the knowledge from which the Cheyenne derive their religious, political, social, and economic customs.

The mountain is sacred to many indigenous peoples, who make pilgrimages to leave prayer cloths and tobacco bundles tied to the branches of the trees along the mountain’s flanks. Other offerings are often left at the top of the mountain. The site is associated with various religious ceremonies throughout the year. The mountain is a place of prayer, meditation, and peace.

Human artifacts have been found on or near Bear Butte that date back 10,000 years, indicating a long and continuous interest in the mountain. The Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual interest in Bear Butte from their earliest recorded history.

Notable visitors like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull made pilgrimages to the site. In 1857, a council of many Indian nations gathered at Bear Butte to discuss the growing presence of white settlers in the Black Hills.

[OK.  Here comes the inevitable:]

Violating a treaty of 1868, George Armstrong Custer led an expedition to the Black Hills region in 1874, and camped near Bear Butte. Custer verified the rumors of gold in the Black Hills, and Bear Butte then served as an easily identifiable landmark for the rush of invading prospectors and settlers into the region.

Indian reaction to the illegal movements of whites into the area was intense and hostile. Ultimately the government reneged on its treaty obligations regarding the Black Hills and instead embarked on a program to confine all northern Plains tribes to reservations.

Before a little geology, here’s a great picture of the Butte from BlackHillsBadlands.com:


Here’s a little quick geology.

Bear Butte is a geological laccolith, which is an intrusion of molten rock (magma) that uplifts and deforms surrounding rock structures.  In a way, it’s a mini Black Hills, as the core of the “butte” is igneous, and it has punched through and deformed sedimentary rocks around it, just like the much larger Black Hills.

I don’t remember much about our mapping exercise, except that my team spent more time confused than we did methodically preparing a geologic map.

Post Script:  I received straight A’s at Kent State, where I was a Master’s student in geology.  Except for that pesky B I got in field camp – which was actually a gift, only because my professors thought I was a good guy with a good attitude . . .

To round out the Native American history side of things (already touched on in my piece about Bear Butte), here’s some more, from Wiki:

The U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, and exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when settlers discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer’s Black Hills Expedition, miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government took back the Black Hills and in 1889 reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to five smaller reservations in southwestern South Dakota, selling off 9 million acres of their former land.

There you have it.

On second thought, I don’t think I’ll bother with the “white man’s history” portion of this post.  Sufficeth to say, when the whites poured in looking for gold, towns like Deadwood were classic old west shoot ‘em up kind of places.  Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock (shot in the back of his head while playing poker) – are the most famous members of the “Notable Deadwood Residents” club.

The Homestake Gold mine (located in Lead, just down the road from Deadwood) operated from the 1870s until 2001.  It was the largest and deepest gold mine in the United States, and produced more than 40 million troy ounces of gold.  By the way, a “troy ounce” is about 10% more than a traditional ounce.  Reminds me of the nautical speed of “knots,” which are about 15% higher than miles per hour.

So, 40,000,000 troy ounces = 43,884,000 regular ounces = 2,742,750 pounds = 1,371 tons

Today, gold goes for about $1,200/oz.  Of course, this is way more than historical prices, but what the heck – at today’s prices, the value of the gold mined from the Homestake is $52,660,800,000.  That’s $52.66 billion.  Even at $400/oz (a more realistic inflation-adjusted long term average over the life of the mine), it’s still a lot of money.

I remember that back in 1974 (when I was there and the mine was still operating), Whitewood Creek (which flows by the mine through both Lead and Deadwood) ran a totally opaque, viscous chocolate brown.  Maybe that helped launch my environmental career.

Let me return to my local landing map:


The town of Moskee is near my landing, although the name is partially hidden by the lat/long marker.

Speaking of its name, it has a unique origin story.  From WyomingPlaces.pbworks.com:

The name Moskee was long in coming. Originally called Golden Gate, the small settlement somehow became known as Lavier until the Post Office officials realized that there existed three Laviers in Wyoming; thus, severely complicating mail deliveries.

Herald Hass, the first postmaster of Lavier, decided a change in name was a necessity. He discussed the problem with Burt Putnam, a local cattle foreman. Putnam had spent time in Mongolia and came up with “Moskee,” translated from the Mongolian as “anything goes,” or “it doesn’t make much difference.”

Not until later was it discovered that the correct spelling was “Moche.” By this time, however, the name Moskee had been officially established as the new postal station.’

I spent an inordinate amount of time on the internet trying to find the word “moche” in Mongolian.  Although the Mongolian alphabet is fundamentally different from ours, I was able to find numerous words that appeared to be at least potentially related to “moche.”  But alas – no luck.  Maybe “moche” is idiomatic or slang in Mongolian.

In spite of my lack of independent verification, I totally accept the Wyoming Places name origin story.  I mean – really – how many towns are named from the Mongolian, especially meaning something as casual as “anything goes?”  I love it.

I’ll close with this lovely shot of Sand Creek, just south of Beulah, by Puddle Jumper:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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The Bitterroot Mountains, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on February 2, 2017

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 2323; A Landing A Day blog post number 754.

boxDan:  Today’s lat/long (46o 59.713’N, 115o 5.323’W) puts me right on the ID/MT border, but evidently in ID based on the title of this post:


My local landing confirms my Idaho landing, and also validates the fact that no towns made it this post’s title:


See?  Huge (pronounced yuge) area – no towns! 

Here’s my local streams-only watershed map:


You can see that I landed in the watershed of Graves Creek, on to the North Fork of the Clearwater River (2nd hit).  Zooming quite a ways back:


The N Fk discharges (of course) to the plain ol’ Clearwater (7th hit), and on to the Snake (80th hit).  Not shown (but you can trust me on this), the Snake makes its way to the Columbia (166th hit).

It’s time to strap yourself in, and climb on board the Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin spacecraft for a short (but scintillating) trip in to Idaho from the outer fringes of the atmosphere.  Click HERE to partake.

Here’s an oblique shot of my landing, looking up Graves Creek towards the summit of the Bitterroots:


Given the boonie-esque nature of this landing, you might expect that there’s no decent Street View coverage of my landing.  You’d be correct in that expectation.

You might also suspect that I have to go quite some distance to get a look at one of my watershed streams.  You’d be correct there, as well:


Although I have no bridge upon which to place the Orange Dude, he does get a good look at the North Fork of the Clearwater River from the adjacent roadway:


Since I landed in an area forsaken by civilization, I felt compelled to feature the landscape, not a town for this post (especially after looking at a number of small towns between 35 and 50 miles distant, all hookless).

So – I landed in the Bitterroot Mountains, generally defined as the range that marks the boundary between the Idaho Panhandle and Montana.  The ridge of the Bitterroots, while marking the state border, does not mark the Continental Divide; rather it’s the distinctly-less-glamourous watershed boundary between the Snake to the west and the Clark Fork to the east.  Both, by the way, end up in the Columbia.

While typing the word Bitterroot, I realized that if it weren’t for that pesky “e,” Bitterroot could join “bookkeeper” in that most unique of letter groupings – three double letters in a row in a single word.

Anyway, being a geologist, I thought I’d do a little Bitterroot geology.  I found a short and succinct geologic summary from Cliff’s blogspot blog, “Somewhere in the Middle of (Western) Montana.”  Here are some of his words (slightly edited by yours truly):

About 100 million years ago, the west coast of North America ran through western Idaho. The North American plate was moving west (as it still is today), colliding with the plate holding the floor of the Pacific Ocean (as it still is today).

This causes the heavier Pacific plate to sink under the North American plate, creating a subduction zone. The compression crinkled (not a geologic term) and thickened/elevated the western edge of the North American plate.  It also drove the oceanic plate down into the hot mantle, where the granite melted and created a large mass of magma.

The magma rose into the existing rock near the Earth’s surface and formed the Idaho batholith, a huge mass of granite that covers about 10,000 square miles in central Idaho and includes the southern half of the Bitterroot Mountains.

So here’s my take. The subduction going on off the west coast today creates hot magma that rises up, creating the volcanoes of the Sierra Nevada.  Back 100 million years ago, when the coast was about where western Idaho is today, the hot magma didn’t rise all the way to surface; instead, it created a huge subsurface magma pool that migrated upward, cooled very slowly and created the Idaho granite batholith. 

Here’s a cross section (from Idaho State University):


“Plutons” are simply huge blobs of magma (rather than a single mass).  The “Moho” is the Mohorovicic Discontinuity, otherwise known as the boundary between the solid crustal rocks and the more plastic rocks of the mantle.

And a more local cross section from Carnegie Melon University:


Back to Cliff:

With so many forces at work, the Earth’s surface is thought to have bulged and heaved, becoming higher in elevation (mountain building) but also unstable. In southwestern Montana, a large piece of the Idaho batholith broke off and moved east, forming the Sapphire Mountains. The gap created between the Idaho batholith (i.e., the Bitterroot Mountains) and the Sapphire Mountains is the Bitterroot Valley.

The Bitterroot River (3 hits!) flows northward in this valley and discharges to the Clark Fork.

And then, the most recent glacial epoch (which ended about 15,000 years ago), resulted in glacial sculpting of the landscape.  By perusing GE, I could see that the Bitterroots were obviously so sculpted (but then again, I am a geologist). 

Here’s what I would consider an obvious glacially-carved area (the Oregon Lakes, less than 4 miles to the northwest):


Here’s an academic figure (from slideshare.net), showing mountain glacial features.


I’ll return to the Oregon Lakes, with many of those same features labeled:


By the way:  “Pater noster lakes?”  Say what?  From Wiki:

A paternoster lake is one of a series of glacial lakes connected by a single stream. The name comes from the word Paternoster, another name for the Lord’s Prayer derived from the Latin words for the prayer’s opening words, “Our Father.”

Paternoster lakes are so called because of their resemblance to rosary beads, with prayer beads connected by a string or fine chain.

So the Bitterroots, eh?  From whence cometh the name?  From Wiki:

The Bitterroot Mountains are named after the bitterroot, a small white/pink flower that is the state flower of Montana.

Here are the white variety (from Wiki, by Walter Siegmund) and the pink variety (from AuntieDogmasGardenSpot):


Back to Wiki:

The bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) is a low-growing perennial plant with a fleshy taproot.  The flower stems are leafless, with a single flower on each stem.

French trappers knew the plant as racine amère (bitter root).  Native American names included spetlum or spetlem, meaning “bitter.”

The roots were consumed by tribes such as the Shoshone and the Flathead Indians as an infrequent delicacy. The Lemhi Shoshone believed the small red core found in the upper taproot had special powers, notably being able to stop a bear attack.

[I could see how it could happen that someone ate some bitterroot, and apparently miraculously was spared a bear attack.  But I have trouble imagining the special powers legend continuing any length of time.  But hey – what do I know?]

The bitterroot was selected as the Montana state flower on February 27, 1895.

Three major geographic features, the Bitterroot Mountains (running north-south and forming the divide between Idaho and Montana), the Bitterroot Valley, and the Bitterroot River (which flows south-north, terminating in the Clark Fork river in the city of Missoula), owe the origins of their names to this flower.

Here’s some more, from the St. Mary’s Mission & Museum:

Lewis and Clark are credited with the “discovery” of the bitterroot plant (Lewisia Rediviva) in the Montana valley which was eventually named after it. It was an important part of the Native American diet for unknown generations. Tribes’ spring migrations were timed to coincide with the blooming of the bitterroot flower and often scouts would be sent out to alert the tribe to the readiness of the plant for harvesting.

Indian women dug, cleaned and boiled the root of the plant and then mixed it with meat or berries. Hunting expeditions and war parties often carried patties made from a mixture of pulverized root, deer fat and moss. At trading centers a sackful of bitterroot commanded a high price and could often be traded for a horse.

The species name rediviva refers to the hardiness of the plant.  A bitterroot can live for over a year without water and is usually found growing in gravelly, dry soil.  It is low-growing perennial with a fleshy taproot and has a branched base. In May and June a single flower will appear on each stem ranging in color from white to a deep pink or rose.

I did a quick search to see if there are medicinal uses for bitterroot, and was not surprised to find the following (from NaturalMedicinalHerbs.net):

Medicinal use of Bitter-Root: The root is cardiac (promotes heart health) and galactogogue (promotes lactation). An infusion of the root has been used to increase the milk flow in nursing mothers, to relieve heart pain and the pain of pleurisy and also as a blood purifier. The root has been eaten raw to counteract the effects of poison ivy rash and as a treatment for diabetes. The pounded dry root has been chewed in the treatment of sore throats. A poultice of the raw roots has been applied to sores.

Likely, not all true; likely, not all false . . .

Time for some GE Pano shots, all within about 7 miles of my landing.  First this, of Upper Oregon Lake (a tarn), by Blackbear91:


And this, by DHOlano:


Also, by DHO:


A lovely meadow by Glacierman:


And mountain goats by Raymond Gardner:


And I’ll close with this award-winner, also by Mr. Gardner:


 That’ll do it . . .




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