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Archive for April, 2017

Trenton, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on April 29, 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 2341; A Landing A Day blog post number 772.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 34o 54.351’N, 85o 27.925’W) puts me in far NW Georgia:

And my local landing map, showing why Trenton made titular status:

I’ll zoom out a little to show you a slighty-more-regional shot:

OK!  So Chattanooga TN is the nearby big city.

I have a straightforward watershed analysis:

You can see that I landed in the Lookout Creek watershed, on to the Tennessee River (33rd hit).  You’ll have to trust me here, but the Tennessee meanders its way through Alabama, Tennessee & Kentucky before discharging into the Ohio (143rd hit); and to the MM (911th hit).

I’m going to be hanging out a lot on Google Earth (GE), so let’s get started by clicking HERE to get a good look at NW Georgia.

Check back up at my very local landing map.  See the road that runs right next to my landing?  Guess what?  It has GE Street View coverage (although landings in the woods are less-than-thrilling . . . )

I moved the Orange Dude (OD) down the road a little so we can look up a driveway (as opposed to looking straight at the woods).  And here’s what the OD sees:

So, I landed in a tight little valley that slopes south-southeast and is home to a little rivulet that juts east when it hits the flats, and heads over to Lookout Creek.  Let’s have the OD take a look at this “unnamed tributary:”

And here’s what he sees:

While he was there, the OD (who sometimes has a mind of his own), turned around and looked north:

He probably heard the women talking . . .  (and that’s my landing valley in the left background).

I was so taken with the two women – one walking her dog and, for reasons we’ll never know, one woman carrying her dog – that I prepared a little screen shot video.  Click HERE.  Please.

Let me put back up the local GE map:

This time, I’ve highlighted a side road apparently lined with little buildings of some sort.  By the way, the women and their dogs were right at the point where they could have turned right to visit these little buildings.  Let’s take a closer look (and bring along the OD for good measure):

Here’s what he sees:

Hmmm.  Cottages, very little cottages, that look rather new.  The Street View coverage dead ends just a little further north:

Check out what the OD sees now:

Wow!  There’s a lot to talk about.  I’ll go from right to left.

So, to the right, is that a woman with a white dog?  Same woman?  Same white dog?  I thought so at first, but she’s dressed differently.  And maybe the white blob isn’t a dog.  And wouldn’t the GoogleMobile visit this little side road at the same time as visiting the main road?  Whatever . . .

Moving to the center, there’s an airplane, right?  And then behind it, there appears to be another aircraft.  Being towed?  But the trailing aircraft looks like a hang glider, which wouldn’t be towed by an airplane!  What’s going on?

Well, I had the OD take a closer look around, and just up the dirt road in front of the little cottages, I saw this:

A hang glider!  Hmmmm.  So the trailing aircraft is a hang glider.  Well, there’s a big mountain right across the valley.  Could hang gliders take off from the top and make their way down to this field?  Although I’m still a little confused as to why there’s an airplane sharing airspace with a hang glider. . .

Anyway, I figured I’d drag the OD up on top of the mountain:

And you’ll never guess what he sees:

And I circled a hang glider way above the mountain!  Think there are some updrafts?  I went looking for some GE Panoramio shots, and found this, by Flyboy_69:

That hang glider just took off, with the pilot running down that very steep ramp.    And guess where he’s going to land?  Maybe he’ll be staying in one of those little cottages!

See the sign?  Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding.  Here’s a screen shot of their website:

Looky there!  Little cottages!

To get a feel for the topography, here’s an oblique GE shot looking north:

And while I was at it, I produced another little screen shot video, trying to give you a slight feel for the hang glider pilot’s perspective.  OK.  He took off, caught an updraft, did a 180, headed east over the mountain, and then circled back towards where he took off.  As he flies over the precipice, he sees this peculiar yellow push-pin, and zooms down for a closer look.  You gotta check this out by clicking HERE.

The Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding website a video showing take-offs & landings:

And – if you watched the whole thing – did you notice?  There was an ultra-light airplane in the video that is likely what we saw in that end-of-the-road Street View shot much earlier.

Geez.  I guess I need a quick look at Trenton.  From a Georgia State website about Georgia cities:

Settlers first came to Trenton, the county seat of Dade County, in the 1830s. Incorporated on February 18, 1854, the city’s name recognizes the industrial engineers from Trenton, NJ who came to the area in search of coal and iron.

Trenton NJ is just down the road from where I live; although I’m tempted to pay a visit, I decided to stay in Georgia.


The noted Southern humorist George Washington Harris (1814–1869) is buried in the Brock Cemetery in Trenton. Although he was considered one of the seminal writers of Southern humor and greatly influenced the literary works of Mark Twain and William Faulkner (among others), his grave was not officially identified and marked with a monument until 2008.

From the University of Virginia:

Harris’ great achievement was his creation of Sut Lovingood, “a nat’ral born durn’d fool.” Sut is one of the cruelest characters encountered in Southern humor. He grossly exaggerates the qualities of conniving, cruelty, brutish behavior and coarse speech–the qualities that enable men to survive the harsh life of the frontier.

In turn, respectability, kindness, and brotherhood are characteristics for derision as they constitute the personalities of the weak.

Sut furnishes the reader with a self description which should give a fair idea of the qualities this character possessed:

“Every critter what has ever seed me, if they has sense enough to hide from a coming calamity…jist knows five great facts in my case…Firstly, that I hain’t got nary a soul, nothing but a whisky-proof gizzard…Secondly, that I’s too durned a fool to come under military law. Thirdly, that I has the longest pair of legs ever hung to any carcus, excepting only of a grandaddy spider…Fourthly, that I can chamber more corkscrew, kill-devil whisky, and stay on end, than anything excepting only a broad-bottomed churn. Fivety, and lastly, kin get into more durned misfortunate skeery scrapes, than anybody, and then run outen them faster, by golly, nor anybody.”

I read some other Sut passages, and the one above is one of the easier to get through.  Someone suggested that Harris’ work needs to be read out loud, because when silently reading, it’s harder to translate the heavily-accented dialect.

Anyway, back to Wiki:

As the rift between the North and South widened in the years leading up the Civil War, Harris, an ardent Democrat and secessionist, moved to Nashville, and began writing political satires in support of the South.

In early 1862, Harris fled Nashville ahead of invading Union forces, and spent the remainder of the war evading the Union Army.

Following the success of Sut Lovingood Yarns, Harris made plans to publish a new collection of stories entitled High Times and Hard Times. In late November 1869, he traveled from his new home in Alabama to Lynchburg, Virginia, to show his manuscript to a prospective publisher.

On December 11, while riding the train back to Alabama, Harris fell gravely ill somewhere near Bristol, Tennessee. When the train stopped in Knoxville, Harris, unconscious, was taken to the Atkin Hotel.

At the Atkin, Harris was examined by a doctor, who issued a preliminary diagnosis of apoplexy.  Later in the evening, four other doctors arrived and rejected the initial diagnosis, suggesting a possible morphine overdose.

Around 10:00 PM, Harris briefly regained consciousness, and managed to say one final word: “poisoned”.  He died shortly afterward, with the official cause listed as “unknown.”  No copy of his manuscript, High Times and Hard Times, has ever been found.

He had moved to Trenton after the war, and was buried there in 1869.  Mysteriously, his grave was not marked; but in 2008, a memorial was placed at the Trenton cemetery where he was interred.

Just east of Trenton is the “Cloudland Canyon.”  You can see plenty of GE Panoramio shots at the Canyon:

So, I’ll close with some of them.

I’ll start with this, by Ben Prepelka:

And this, by Chase1Ash:

There are a couple of lovely waterfalls in the Canyon.  Here’s a shot of one by Dave Nelson dotcom:

And another, by DVandevate:

And yet another, also by DV:

One more by DV:

Here’s a shot of a big rock by DWGPhotos:

Also by DWG:

I’ll close with this waterfall pic (maybe shot from a hang glider?) by Pete Seabolt:

A drone is more likely . . .

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Halfway, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on April 19, 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 2339; A Landing A Day blog post number 770.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 44o 51.893’N, 117o 5.874’W) puts me in far Northeast Oregon:

My local landing map puts me about halfway between Halfway & Pine:

I’ll head straight over to my streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Sag Creek, on to Pine Creek.

Backing up a little:

Pine Creek does not pass Go, does not collect $200, but rather goes directly to the Snake River (81st hit).  As 93 out of 100 of my readers know, the Snake makes its way to the Columbia (168th hit).  The 7 remaining readers just learned something.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight, starting with an unusual perspective.  Click HERE to check it out.

Here’s an oblique GE shot looking north past my landing, across the Pine Creek valley, towards the Wallowa Mountains:

And another, looking up the Pine Creek Valley from the Snake River and the town of Oxbow towards my landing:

Speaking of Oxbow, I found Street View coverage of Pine Creek near Oxbow, just before it loses itself in the belly of the Snake:

I think it’s time to check out Halfway.  From the town’s website:

The town is located “halfway” between the communities of Pine and Cornucopia.

Good thing the word “halfway” is in quotes!  I mean, really!   Look at the map:

AYKM??  In what universe does “halfway” mean really close to Pine (less than 2 miles) and really far from Cornucopia (about 9.5 miles)?  There must be a story behind the story.  Wiki gives us a clue:

This town took its name from the location of its post office, on the Alexander Stalker ranch, halfway between Pine and Cornucopia.  While a post office was established in 1887, in 1907 the town was platted in another location [way further south, evidently]; the post office moved there in 1908.

OK, I guess.  I did a search for the Alexander Stalker ranch, but only found circular references to the town of Halfway.  But look at this GE shot:

Hmmm.  Carson pops up on GE, but is nowhere to be found on StreetAtlas.  Interesting that Carson is just a little north of halfway between Cornucopia & Pine.  So, it seems like the mysterious Alexander Stalker ranch might have been a little south of Carson. 

Wiki on Carson:

In 1870 Tom Corson settled in the area on a tributary of Pine Creek.  His neighbors pronounced his name “Carson” and named the tributary and a sawmill on the creek after him.  When a post office was established here in 1893, it was named “Carson” as well.  The town was platted in 1900, the first in Pine Valley.

Let’s sort this out.  Here’s the timeline:

1887:  a post office was established somewhere between Pine & Cornucopia – rumored to be halfway between Pine & Cornucopia, perhaps at the Alexander Stalker ranch.

1893:  a post office was established in Carson, which just happens to be about halfway between Pine & Cornucopia.

Now wait a second.  It’s hard to imagine that there was a Post Office within a few miles of Carson, and then a separate post office was established in Carson!  In fact, this goes beyond “hard to image,” bumping into “ain’t no way!”

ALAD will make it official:  This whole thing about “halfway between Pine & Cornucopia” is bunk.  We all need another, more plausible story.  Let me roll up my sleeves . . .

I’ll start with Pine:  The “town” of Pine is nothing.  Nada.  Isn’t now, never has been.  Of course, I Googled Pine Oregon, and the only – I repeat the only – Pine Oregon reference I could find anywhere is Wiki.  Here is the entire entry:

Pine is an unincorporated community in Baker County, Oregon, United States.  It lies along Oregon Route 86 about 2.3 miles southeast of the city of Halfway, and beside Pine Creek, a tributary of the Snake River.

That’s it!  And let me say again – there’s nothing else on the internet about this so-called town.

Let’s take a closer GE look (and don’t be distracted that GE strangely misplaced the “Pine” label). 

It is likely that Pine was never platted, never had a post office and was never anything much more substantial than what you see in the above GE shot.  So why would Pine be used as the southern anchor of the expression, “halfway between Pine and Cornucopia?” 

I get Cornucopia.  It was a thriving mining boom town back in the 1890s (platted in 1886).  But Pine?  Fuhgettaboutit.

So, let’s look at a StreetAtlas map:

Well, well, well.  What about Richland?  From Wiki:

Richland was platted in 1897 and replaced New Bridge as the primary rural service center in the area.

Hmmm.  1897 doesn’t quite work, since the Halfway story starts in 1887.  But what about New Bridge?

New Bridge doesn’t show up on StreetAtlas, but once again, it does show up on GE:

So.  What does Wiki have to say about New Bridge? 

New Bridge was founded on the banks of Eagle Creek near an important bridge built across the stream in pioneer times (the “new bridge”).  Joseph Gale was the first postmaster of New Bridge post office, which ran from 1878 until 1967.  [So New Bridge was founded 9 years before Halfway.  Makes sense . . . ]

New Bridge had a fruit and vegetable cannery, a box factory, and a packing shed for apples.  New Bridge was platted in 1908, only after irreversible decline had set in, due in part to nearby Richland being platted in 1897.

Good enough for ALAD (and way better than that Pine nonsense). Here’s my version of the story (and I’m stickin’ to it):

The Halfway post office (while apparently not actually in the current town location) wasn’t far north (certainly not at all close to Carson).  The Post Office was named Halfway, because of its location approximately halfway between Cornucopia and that bustling little town to the south, New Bridge.

When the post office moved to the newly platted town a little to the south, the town, of course, became Halfway.

Just for the record:  I could find no “deep” source that discusses the Halfway name origin.  The oldest source I could find (footnoted in Wiki) is a 1958 book by Winifred and Armond Moyer entitled “The Origins of Unusual Placenames.”  Here’s the entirety of the text about Halfway:  “The town was midway between Pine and the Cornucopia gold mine in pioneer days.”  That’s not enough to change my mind.  I’m not budging! Pine Schmine . . .

Phew.  And guess what?  There’s another Halfway hook (from Wiki):

Halfway earned a place in the history of the dot-com era in December 1999.  The town received and accepted an offer from Half.com to rename itself as Half.com for one year in exchange for $110,000; 20 computers for the school; and other financial subsidies.

[Quick aside:  Half.com (bought by eBay in 2001) was founded in 1999 as an on-line shopping site.  Products are limited to books (including textbooks), music, movies, video games and video game consoles).  The website pits commercial sellers against one another; they undercut each other so that they’re the lowest price on the site.  Actually, it’s pretty cool.] 

Back to Wiki:

It became the first city in the world to rename itself as a dot com. Among the less obvious reasons the town was chosen were its small population size (and thus its likelihood to accept such an offer) and the city’s location, which fit perfectly into Half.com’s marketing scheme:  “They’re within four miles of the 45th parallel which makes it halfway between the equator and the North Pole”.  [More on this in a moment.]

The proclamation did not legally change its name.  The city created and posted two signs at its borders that greeted visitors with “Welcome to Half.com, Oregon – America’s First Dot-com City”.

I had to search far and wide before finally finding a picture of the sign (from SeattleTimes.com):

The city auctioned one of these off in September 2007 for $1000; the winner was Half.com’s founder Josh Kopelman.

Here’s a GE shot showing the location of the 45th parallel (about a half mile south of Cornucopia):

Digressing a bit here . . . there are a number of very-cool road signs across America that inform motorists that they are crossing the 45th parallel.  Here’s one from MNMuseumOfThems.org (with the caption underneath):

I also read (somewhere) that Half Moon, California was considered for the name change (but it never happened).  I happen to know that Half Moon Bay is the location of “The Mavericks,” a wave-break well known to big-wave surfers.  I’ll use this opportunity to gratuitously post some pictures of some of these waves.

Here’s on from Wiki (by Shalom Jacobovitz):

And this on SurfTweeters.com by Frank Quirarte:

And what the heck, here’s a YouTube video by u2bheavenbound:


These guys are truly amazing.  Whatever you may think of the surfing culture, these guys are world-class athletes . . .

It’s time for some local GE Pano shots (most taken in the Pine Creek valley).  I’ll start with this by DonWadkins:

Here are three by long-time ALAD contributor Ralph Maughan:

I’ll close with this, by Tony Immoos:

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Algodones, Bernallilo and Placitas, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on April 15, 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 2338; A Landing A Day blog post number 769.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 35o 27.830’N, 106o 30.472’W) puts me in Cen-N New Mexico:

My local landing map:

I’ll zoom out a little to let you know that I actually landing in the greater Albuquerque area:

On my local map, you may have noticed that the Rio Grande runs past my landing.  But before I codify my watershed, let’s look at my streams-only map:

So . . . I landed in the watershed of “Wide Stream Intermittent” (known as WSI by the locals), which discharges (rarely, I suspect) to the Rio Grande (50th hit).  Congratulations, Rio Grande, on your 50th hit milestone!

I want to look at the WSI on Google Earth (GE), but first we’ll need to strap in for my GE spaceflight.  Click HERE, enjoy, and then hit your back button.

So here’s my drainage pathway, down the WSI to the Rio Grande:


And an oblique GE shot looking up the WSI towards my landing:


There’s no Street View coverage anywhere close to the WSI – let alone my landing.  The best I can do is have the Orange Dude look across the Rio Grande towards the break in the distant bluff that was carved out by the WSI:


Here’s what he sees:


I spent some time looking at USGS maps of the area, hoping to find a name for the WSI.  No luck.  I found a great map, which clearly shows the WSI valley:


Here’s a closer look at the same map; believe me there’s no label for the thin blue line that is the Wide Stream Intermittent:


Of course, I did get Street View coverage of the Rio Grande:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

But here’s a better picture of the Rio Grande (from Bernalillo), a GE Pano shot by Alex Tucker:

So what about Algodones?  It is truly hookless.  The only thing I have to go on is the name itself.  In Spanish, Algodone means cotton.  “Algodones” by itself doesn’t really make sense, it should be “los algodones,” which would be translated as “the cottons.” 

From TheRoute-66.com, about the origin of the name:

The name is a Spanish word that means “cotton.”  The name may be derived from the fact that cotton was grown in this area and sold to the other pueblos in the 1700s. But drought and less land available for cultivation plus the raids of the Apaches led to its demise.

I stumbled on this expression:  “vivir entre los algodones.”  In Spanish, this idiomatic expression means to be spoiled and overprotected.  Literally, it means, “live between the cottons.”  Maybe live between the sheets?  One may wonder why I brought this up, since the chance that this expression has anything to do with the town is practically nil. . .

About 15 miles SE of my landing are the Sandia Mountains.  Here’s a view (from a real estate website) that shows the view from 8 Via Sole Drive in Algodones, looking SE:

Moving to Bernalillo.  Here’s a screen shot of the “History” section of the city’s website:

You’ll have to trust me on two points:  First, this is, in fact, the top of the “History” section on the website (even though the word “history” is no where to be seen).  Second, the word “Coronado” doesn’t appear in the fairly extensive write-up after the title. 

Say what?  If “The City of Coronado” has nothing to do with history, what does it have to do with?  Well, a little bit of research, shows that there is, in fact, a Coronado connection.

I stumbled on some local information about Coronado, after seeing the title of this GE Pano shot:

It wasn’t a great shot of the Sandias, but I dug a little deeper into Kuaua, and found this, from NMHistoricSites.com:

The Coronado Historic Site and the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo are located in Bernalillo.  In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado—with 500 soldiers and 2,000 Indian allies from New Spain—entered the Rio Grande valley somewhere near this site.

Coronado was searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold.  Instead of treasure, he found a dozen villages inhabited by prosperous native farmers.  These newly “discovered” people spoke Tiwa, and their ancestors had already been living in this area for thousands of years.

Coronado called them “Los Indios de los Pueblos” or Pueblo Indians.  He and his men visited all twelve Tiwa villages during the course of the next two years.  They weren’t only looking for gold; they survived on food and other supplies that they obtained from them.  Without the assistance of the Tiwas (willing or unwilling), Coronado and his men very likely would have starved to death.

Kuaua was the northernmost of the twelve villages.  Its name means “evergreen” in Tiwa.  It was first settled around AD 1325 and was occupied by approximately 1,200 people when Coronado arrived.  Conflict with Coronado and later Spanish explorers led to the abandonment of this site within a century of first contact.  Today, the descendants of the people of Kuaua live in the surviving Tiwa-speaking villages of Taos, Picuris, Sandia, and Isleta.

From a Coronado perspective, it is interesting that back in June 2016 I landed near Lochiel, Arizona, which is more-or-less where Coronado entered the United States as he began his mission to find the 7 cities of gold.

Even more interestingly, in October 2016 I landed near Gypsum, Kansas, which is more-or-less where Coronado ended his mission.  Here’s a map:

So now I landed more-or-less where Coronado crossed the Rio Grande . . .

Moving right along to Placitas.  Let me go back a couple of days when I first landed here in the desert northwest of Algodones.  As has happened before, I was sitting at my kitchen table, using a website to select my random lat/long landing location.

My wife Jody was sitting across the table, and I let her know that I was landing.  Sometimes she’ll ask what I’m doing at my computer, and I’ll say I’m “landing,” even when I’m doing research/writing.  But when I’m actually coming up with a new landing location, I’ll let her know that now, I’m “really landing.”

So, this was one of those real landing moments, and I told her that I just landed in New Mexico.  Knowing that she used to live in New Mexico, I asked her if she knew Algodones.

“Algodones?  Yea, I’ve heard of it, but I’m not sure where it is.”

I zoomed back a little more, and I asked her if she knew Bernalillo.  Of course, I mispronounced it, and she corrected me (bern – a – LEE- o), and let me know that it was in Bernalillo County.  She was paying attention now.

When I zoomed back a little on my local landing map, I caught my breath.  Here’s our dialogue (more-or-less):

“Jody – you’ll never guess where I just landed.”

“You landed near Placitas, right?”

I turned my computer around so she could see:

“Yup – Placitas.”

Oh my.  Jody used to live in Placitas.  To this day, she uses the word “placitas” (along with some miscellaneous letters and numbers) as several of her standard passwords.

She didn’t just “live” in Placitas.  While a student at the University of New Mexico, for about 8 months she lived in a non-functioning school bus that she and her then boyfriend bought for $300 and towed out to a piece of vacant land in Placitas (rent free, but with owner’s permission).  A school bus with no electricity, no water, no toilet.

They dug a pit and put an outhouse over it; they brought in two wood stoves – one for cooking and one for heat.  They used kerosene lanterns for light.  They built a chicken coop, and kept chickens for eggs.

As you might expect, this whole episode in Jody’s life has become one of our family legends.

About 20 years ago, she and I visited some friends who lived in Albuquerque, so of course we cruised around Placitas.  Things had changed so much, she couldn’t figure out where her school bus had been.  But while interviewing Jody for this post (and thanks to Google Earth), we pretty much nailed it.

Let me start with this GE shot of Placitas today:

She lived west of town, and the more she thought about it, she was able to say that she lived south of the main drag and just west of road with word “tunnel” in it. Hmmmm . . .

And there it is, Tunnel Springs road.  Zeroing in, she also remembered “the arroyo,” a little further west.  That nailed it.  I’ll put the magic yellow oval on this gotta-be-it zone:

“By jove, Sherman, I think we’ve found it!  All we need to do is crank up the Way Back Machine – let me see, let’s set it for April 23rd, 1971.  We’ll put the Orange Dude out on the main drag, and take a look:”

“The bus!   And yes, that’s Jody!  Good job, Mr. Peabody!”

Not a bad view from the bus – those are the Sandia Mountains in the background.

A quick detour on the Sandias:

Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset.  [This is what Jody told me].  However, as Robert Julyan notes, “the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash gourds growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo.”

Here’s a lovely shot (from Wiki) of the Sandias over the Rio Grande:

Back to Placitas.  No surprise, Placitas was quite the hippie community back in 1971.  From PlacitasSage.org:

In the 1960s, Placitas was an alternative to nearby urban areas which offered employment but little space. Improved roads allowed a reasonable commute, and the population of Placitas began to grow gradually.

Some moved here to write, to make art and music, to enjoy life at a slower pace. Some wanted to “live off the land,” a movement which gained strength in the 1970s. Some of these folks gathered in communes, others simply built their own homes on acreage that was affordable and available.

One of the Placitas communes was “Lower Farm,” which Jody remembers visiting.  Here’s a classic hippie photo by Roberta Price (check out the guitar player’s pants!).  She wrote a book on communes in the west (Across the Great Divide – A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture) which includes this photo (with the caption below):

Placitas was the southern point of our commune explorations in the summer of 1969 and again in the early winter of 1970, and though we spent a short time there, we caught a glimpse of the vibrant counter-cultural life at that time.

But the real center of Placitas life was the Thunderbird Bar.  Jody remembers it well, and occasionally went there to hear some live music.  I googled the Thunderbird, and came across a facebook page belonging to Larry Goodell, the Placitas “poet-in-residence.”  Back in the day, he performed at the Thunderbird and has collected Thunderbird memorabilia and posted it on his page. 

Here are some posters, mostly from the early 1970s when the Thunderbird was at its prime (it burned down in the mid-70s).  Note REO Speedwagon, Tim Buckley, Mason Williams, Albert King, John Lee Hooker and Freddie King – some pretty big names . . .

(I really enjoyed perusing these.  If you’re not so inclined, you can scroll down quickly.)

Fifteen cent beers!

Here are a couple of inside shots from the same era (I don’t see Jody):

And, this, showing the outside (featuring, I think, Dolly from “Dolly and the Lama Mountain Boys):

From SandovalSignPost, this, by Bill Pearlman, relating a Thunderbird Bar conversation with Joe Gonzalez:

Old days that run the gamut. How the myriad conversations came and went, the goodwill exchanged in language. The strange creatures that appeared here, the wild days at the old Thunderbird Bar of Placitas.  Joe reminds me that the Thunderbird was our center, our forum, our symposium— where ideas were explored, where stories were told, and where laughter surged from friendly voices and passed beyond us. The camaraderie of those days, what we did with our energies, our affections, our vehemence. Lived out a youth, a Volks camper, a bad war, a skyrocketing high, a refugee’s sense of distance.

In one of those JFTHOI* moments, here’s Mason Williams performing Classical Gas in 1968.  Great song.  He was a pretty big name to be playing the little ‘ol Thunderbird Bar!  This is skippable, but this song was a huge hit, and I enjoyed seeing him play it.

*Just for the heck of it


And in another JFTHOI moments, here’s Tommy Emmanuel (who I’ve seen four or five times) also performing Classical Gas.  In my humble opinion, if you don’t know Tommy, you should really check this out.  And if you do know Tommy, you’ll enjoy it.


For the record:  Even though I’m sure it was going on all around her, Jody was a non-drinker, non-druggie during her days in Placitas. . .

I came across a YouTube video of a 1970 BB King concert in Placitas, the “Medicine Ball Caravan” festival.  I wasn’t going to bother posting it, but I realized it’s a great performance with good sound quality, and well worth your time (and it has some classic hippie shots):


That’ll do it for Placitas; now I’m going to cycle all the way back to my when-I-was-really-landing moment.  As most readers probably know, I often “land” outside of the lower 48, because of the roughly rectangular landing area I have to identify when coming up with my random lat/long.  Anyway, this was one of those times when I first “landed” in the Atlantic Ocean, and then Mexico.  And Mexico again.  And (AYKM?) Mexico again. 

I was blown away when Mexico came up for the fourth straight time!  But this one was special.  So special, that I’m going to let you see the special place I landed.  Click HERE (and don’t skip this trip!).

Here’s a static shot of the Isla San Jose (and the yellow push-pin that was my landing location):

The island is about 18 miles long and 5 miles wide, and is uninhabited.  But it (along with the much smaller San Francisco Island just south) is incredibly beautiful.  Here are some GE Pano shots.  I’ll start with this, by Samir Gonzalez:

Rodriguez 324:

Also, Rodriguez 324:

And yes, another by Rod:

And again:

By you-know-who:

Geez.  Enough already . . .

Hold on to your hats, this is by KNBStover (of San Francisco Island):

Same beach, another angle, by Jack Bennett:


I’ll close this segment with this, by Bacamacari:

I’ll circle back to Placitas, and close with this lovely GE Pano shot of the Sandia by NMGuy:

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Bearmouth, Ravenna and Garnet, Montana

Posted by graywacke on April 9, 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 2337; A Landing A Day blog post number 768.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 46o 45.755’N, 113o 20.028’W) puts me in W-Cen Montana:


My local landing map shows two (of three) titular towns:

So where’s Garnet?

Before we can answer that question, let’s take a look at my watershed analysis:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of Bear Creek (in a valley known as Bear Gulch, as you’ll soon see), and that Bear Creek discharges to the Clark Fork (22nd hit). 

Zooming back, you can see that the Clark Fork discharges in (ends up being?) the Pend Oreille (24th hit), and that the Pend Oreille takes a brief sojourn to Canada (BC) before discharging into the Columbia (167th hit):

JFTHOI, I’ll zoom in to get a better look at the conjunction of the Pend Oreille and the Columbia:

And (borrowing from an earlier Montana Clark Fork watershed post):

Notice how the Pend Oreille (P.O.) heads up into Canada before it discharges into the Columbia (which is headed south out of Canada)?  It turns out that the P.O. discharges into the Columbia a few hundred yards north of the international boundary line.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) shot, showing the “Boundary” hydroelectric dam – and yes, some of the kilowatts stay in Canada and some of them head south . . .

Now it’s time to watch as GE zeroes in on landing 2337. Click HERE (then hit your back button).

As always, the first thing I do when I crank up GE is check out Street Views of my landing.  This one’s not so hot (about three and a half miles away):

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

But wait!  Let me zoom in a little on the brown road sign:

Ah ha!  Bear Gulch (the home of Bear Creek) and Garnet, the titular town that doesn’t make it on my StreetAtlas map.

And here’s a GE shot identifying Garnet:

(For the record, Ravenna shows up on StreetAtlas, but not on GE.  Oh, well).

Here’s an oblique GE shot looking past Bear Gulch past my landing:

There’s Street View coverage along the road right before Bear Creek discharges to the Clark Fork.  But it looks like the creek is in a culvert, so there’s nothing to see.  But here’s the view from I-90, looking across the Clark Fork at where the creek discharges:

I took the Orange Dude a little further west, along the road that runs on the north side of Clark Fork.  Here’s a view of the river:

It’s time to move on to the town that shows up on both platforms:  Bearmouth.  Wiki:

Bearmouth [sometimes written as Bear Mouth, which I prefer] was not a mining camp, but rather a town that depended on the survival of other towns that were mining camps, such as neighboring Garnet. The town was also a main stop for stagecoaches on the old Mullan Road.

During the late 19th century, enormously rich ores from Garnet came into Bearmouth to be shipped to smelters. When Garnet died, Bearmouth followed suit.

It had a beautiful two-storied, balconied inn for travelers to spend the night, which still stands.

Still stands, eh?  Well, here’s a Street View shot looking across the Clark Fork at the very same two-storied balconied inn (now the Bearmouth Chalet, associated with an RV park):

Just a quick note about the Mullan Road (that ran through Bear Mouth.  From Wiki:

Mullan Road was the first wagon road to cross the Rocky Mountains, ending up in the Pacific Northwest.  It was built by U.S. Army troops under the command of Lt. John Mullan, between the spring of 1859 and summer 1860. It led from Fort Benton, Montana – at the navigational head of the Missouri and the farthest inland port in the world – across Idaho and into western Washington to Fort Walla Walla, near the Columbia River. The road previewed the route approximately followed of modern-day Interstate 15 and Interstate 90 [which runs right through Bear Mouth].

Moving on to Ravenna.  True confessions.  I probably would have ignored Ravenna if it weren’t for the fact that way back in the day, I lived just outside of Ravenna, Ohio.  I went to grad school at nearby Kent State University, and worked in Akron (also nearby) for a couple of years. 

I happen to know that Ravenna Ohio was named after Ravenna Italy.  I’d like to think that Ravenna Montana was named after Ravenna Ohio . . .

Anyway, all that remains in Ravenna, Montana (and the only reason it has any internet presence at all), is the remains of electrical Substation #9.  I had the Orange Dude travel a few miles west from Bear Mouth and look across the river.  Here’s what he sees:

One might ask why there is an electrical substation out in the middle of nowhere.  I had to go to YouTube to find out.  DavidEgg22 posted an artsy video of the abandoned substation.  He has a write-up, which I’ll present before the video:

Uploaded on Nov 12, 2011.  [Geez.  He missed 11/11/11 by one day . . .]

Ruins and rust; taken over by nature! The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad electrified 440 miles for their trains to cross the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The electric locomotives were powered by substations that converted 110,000 volt AC current to 3,000 volts DC. The 22 substations were built in 1909 and were located approximately 30 miles apart. The electric operations ended during June 1974 and the line through here was abandoned March 1980. The Ravenna Substation #9 is one of 7 substations still standing.

In 1981, I walked the two miles of track to this remote station (and me without a camera!) The building looked to be in good shape and most of the windows were still intact but the interior equipment was all removed and salvaged. The floors were scattered with papers such as train orders, log books and the like. The nigh voltage power still ran up over the building (accessible by ladders) producing a humming sound. As you can see from this video, the building has started to deteriorate with the help of vandals and Mother Nature.

Here’s the video – with, believe it or not – 16,162 views!


I couldn’t help myself, so I took a quick Wiki look at Ravenna Ohio.  The only thing of interest was in the list of Notable People.  Here’s a screen shot of the top half of the list:

How about that!  See the entry after Robert B. “Yank” Heisler???

I scanned the list, looking to see if there was a truly Notable Person (besides, of course, yours truly).  Yank didn’t make it.  My skepticism about the list-worthiness of many of these individuals is confirmed by Wiki’s note in the box at the top of the list.  Here’s what it says:

This list of “famous” or “notable” persons has no inclusion or exclusion criteria.  Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria (August 2013).

It doesn’t look like anyone has done any editing.  If/when they do, I hope that I make the cut!

Someone who will definitely make any cut is Bill Bower.  He was the “last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid.”

From Wiki:

William “Bill” Bower (1917 – 2011) was a U.S. Air Force Colonel and veteran of World War II. Bower was the last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid to target the Japanese home island of Honshu.

A native of Ravenna, Ohio, Bower graduated from Ravenna High School in 1934.  He attended Hiram College and Kent State University from 1934 until 1936.

And this, about the Doolittle Raid (also Wiki):

The Doolittle Raid, on April 18, 1942, was an air raid by the United States of America on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on the island of Honshu during World War II, the first air strike to strike the Japanese Home Islands. The raid took place only 4 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for Pearl Harbor and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle of the US Army Air Forces.

Sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China—landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible.

[They must have physically loaded the planes on the aircraft carrier, knowing they could take off, but not land.]

Fifteen aircraft reached China, but all crashed, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union. All but three of the 80 crew members initially survived the mission. Eight airmen were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of those were later executed. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen complete crews, except for one crewman who was killed in action, returned to the United States or to American forces.

Here are a couple of shots from the USS Hornet (via Wiki).  First this, of the bombers crowded on the deck just prior to the mission:

And this, of one of the planes taking off, headed to Tokyo:

As mentioned previously, Bill Bower was the last surviving pilot.  Four surviving crew members remain.  To learn more about the raid and the remaining survivors, Google Doolittle Raid and/or go to DoolittleRaider.com.

It’s time to head back to Montana and check out Garnet.  I found an April 2015 article from the Missoulian by Rob Chaney entitled “Garnet Ghost Town Seeks Volunteer Resident.”  Here’s a picture from the article (a BLM pic), followed by some excerpts:

A chance to really get to know the ghosts at Garnet Ghost Town is one of the benefits of a volunteer residency summer program at the historic site.

“It’s primitive, to say the least,” U.S. Bureau of Land Management Garnet Ranger Nacoma Gainan said. “It’s for people who love the outdoors and want to give back. There’s no electricity, no Wi-Fi and no running water. But there are trails to explore, artifacts to inspect. Volunteers are really left to their own devices after the visitors are gone.”

In the past, one volunteer from Buffalo, New York, spent 11 consecutive summers at Garnet, while another couple made it their summer plan for a decade. This year, however, the calendar is open for the months of August and September.

BLM provides a private furnished cabin with propane stove and refrigerator, wood stove and a food stipend. Volunteers will provide visitor information, lead tours and handle sales of souvenirs.

Garnet’s mining history started in the 1860s, when the first lodes of silver and gold were discovered there. At its peak, nearly 1,000 people lived in the small valley.

The town went through several booms and busts, and a small operating mine still functions near the boundary of the town site. Over the years, preservationists restored many of the town’s buildings, including its Miners Union hall, Kelly’s Saloon and several residences.

Here’s a GE pano shot (by Ostrom), reminding us all that they have a winter in Montana, and the miners were living and working all winter long:

Here’s a what-the-heck shot of a not-so-old piece of presumed mining equipment (pano shot by OffTheTrail):

I’ll close with this Pano shot by Elifino 57, taken near Bear Mouth.  I like the picture, even though the photographer pushed the “color saturation” bar on his photo editor a little too far to the right . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Onaway, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on April 4, 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 2336; A Landing A Day blog post number 767.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 45o 17.215’N, 84o 0.570’W) puts me in N-Cen Michigan:

My local landing map shows a few towns, only one of which (as you already know) became titular:

Here’s a short and sweet watershed analysis:

I landed in the watershed of the Ocqueoc River (1st hit ever!), on to Lake Huron (17th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (105th hit).

By the way, this was my 57th landing in Michigan, yet my first landing in the Ocqueoc watershed . . .

So I need to Google the Ocqueoc River.  From Wiki:

The Ocqueoc River (pronounced AH-kee-ock) is 34 miles long and encompasses a watershed of approximately 95,000 acres or 150 sq miles.

[Actually, pretty small watershed; only 10 mi x 15 mi . . .]

The word Ocqueoc comes from a French term meaning “crooked waters.”

I spent some amount of time (aka too much time) trying to find a French phrase that means crooked waters (or something like crooked waters) that sounds even a little like Ocqueoc.  The French word for water is “eau,” (pronounced oh), which seems like a start, but still, no luck.  Oh, well.  Back to Wiki:

Ocqueoc Falls are the largest waterfalls in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with a drop of about 5 feet.

AYKM?  Oh my.  This requires research!

So I googled “highest waterfalls in Michigan,” and found that the Ocqueoc Falls (which the website said were 10’ tall, not 5’) are the 107th highest falls in the state.  So the top 106 are in the Upper Peninsula?  Seems unlikely.

But it’s true.  The counties for each of the falls were listed, and I methodically checked the first 106 falls and aye-yup, they were all in the UP.  How about that?

Sorry about the “aye-yup.”  I fear that’s Maine, not Michigan . . .

We need a couple of Google Earth (GE) Panoramio photos of the mighty Ocqueoc Falls.  First, this by ChrisF66:

And this lovely winter view of the falls (reminding us that they really have winter in Northern Michigan), by PGerow:

Speaking of Google Earth, it’s time for my GE visit to landing 2336.  Click HERE.

My closest town is Millersburg (pop 200), but it’s totally hookless.  Tower has zero internet presence, and any references about Black Lake are all about the lake, not the “town.”  What’s left?  Onaway.  As is my wont, my first stop was Wiki:

Onaway is the Sturgeon Capital of Michigan, and there is a lake sturgeon streamside rearing facility on the nearby Black River, where the fish migrate down to the Cheboygan River and then to Lake Huron.

OK, I’ll have to look into the sturgeon angle a little more.  But first, back to a bulletized version of Wiki:

  • This farming community received a post office in 1882 with Thomas Shaw as postmaster. The town was name Shaw for him.

     [Logically enough.]

  • Arriving in 1886, Marritt Chandler platted the community under the name of Onaway.

  [No explanation for “Onaway.”]

  • Chandler took over as postmaster and officially changed the town’s name to Onaway in 1890.
  • In 1893, Shaw took back the postmaster position and changed the town’s name to Adalaska.

   [He gave up on “Shaw,” but whence cometh “Adalaska?”]

  • Once again, the post office was renamed back to Onaway in 1897.

   [Seemingly out the blue, back to Onaway.]

OnawayMi.com has a much more straightforward town name discussion, and fills in the crucial missing piece about Onaway:

The Onaway area was first settled in the 1880’s by Thomas Shaw and Merritt Chandler. Chandler was the first to plat the land, naming the town from a stanza in Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha.” Onaway is an Ojibwa Indian cry meaning ‘Alert’ or ‘Awaken’.

So Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (known as Waddy to his friends) was an American poet (1807-1882), best known for “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “Evangeline” besides “The Song of Hiawatha.”  What a distinguished looking gentleman!

I’ll dig a little into “The Song of Hiawatha” – it’s a very long epic poem, based on Ojibwa myths and legends.  If you’re like me, you don’t know much more than the first half of the first line:

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee . . .”

In the spirit of full disclosure, here’s the second half of the first line, and as a bonus feature, the second line:

“by the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.”

Anyway, I found Cliff’s Notes for the poem.  Fom Schmoop.com (oh, all right – not really Cliff’s Notes):

The poem starts by telling us how the Master of Life, Gitche Manito, came down from the skies and told all the people of the Earth to stop fighting and get along. To seal the deal, he had these people make peace pipes, which they take out and smoke together whenever a conflict arises. Then Gitche Manito throws in an added bonus: he tells the people that he will soon send a prophet who will suffer on their behalf so that they will all live better lives.

Some time after Gitche Manito’s appearance, a boy named Hiawatha is born to a woman named Wenonah. Hiawatha’s father is a demigod who controls the west wind, but as a dad he’s a deadbeat. He deserts Hiawatha’s mother, who ends up dying from heartbreak. In the meantime, Hiawatha grows up to be a strong and wise young man whose great reputation travels all across the land.

The book goes on to tell us about all the great stuff Hiawatha does, like making the corn grow better and killing a giant fish-god named Mishe-Nahma. Eventually, Hiawatha gets lonely and decides to ask a woman named Minnehaha to marry him.  She says yes and they live happily together. Along the way, Hiawatha finds the time to invent reading and writing and to teach these things to his people.

In the second half of the poem, Hiawatha loses his two best friends. Then he has to chase down a troublemaker named Pau-Puk-Keewis who has been destroying everything in his path. Finally, a terrible winter kills Hiawatha’s wife Minnehaha with a fever. Hiawatha feels as though there’s nothing left in his life to keep him in his village. One night, he has visions of white men arriving in a giant boat and teaching his people a new religion. Sure enough, this vision comes true and Hiawatha trusts that his people will be safe with the whites (um, he might be mistaken on that one).

At the end of the poem, Hiawatha gets in his canoe and paddles away from his village. He doesn’t know when or if he’ll ever come back. And that’s that.

Now I need to get to the Onaway part.  At the wedding feast (after the wedding of Hiawatha and Minnehaha), Chibiabos is asked to sing a song.  FYI, Chibiabos is a mythical Native American character.  According to most sources, he’s a God of the Underworld (although not a bad guy).  But I prefer this, from InfoPlease:

He is the musician; the harmony of nature personified. He teaches the birds to sing and the brooks to warble as they flow.

In that musical vein, here’s a picture entitled “Chibiabos the Flute Player” by Ed Copley (from EdCopleyFineArt.com):

Anyway, quoting from the poem, here’s an introduction to Chibiabos:

“Sing to us, O Chibiabos!
Songs of love and songs of longing,
That the feast may be more joyous,
That the time may pass more gayly,
And our guests be more contented!”

The song begins (Chibiabos singing to Hiawatha):

“Onaway! Awake, beloved!
Thou the wild-flower of the forest!
Thou the wild-bird of the prairie!”

And later in the song:

“Onaway! My heart sings to thee,
Sings with joy when thou art near me,
As the sighing, singing branches
In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries!”

And again, as the song ends:

“I myself, myself! Behold me!
Blood of my beating heart, behold me!
O awake, awake, beloved!
Onaway ! Awake, beloved!”

Yo Chibiabos.  You’re a dude, and you only sang to Hiawatha?  Shouldn’t you say something about Minehaha?

That’s enough on the Onaway name origin; actually, more information than you need, eh?

Moving right along to sturgeon.  Onaway is the “Sturgeon Capital of Michigan” because nearby Black Lake is famous for its sturgeon, and also because there’s a sturgeon hatchery on the Upper Black River that flows into Black Lake.

I found a Feb 2017 Lansing State Journal article about Black Lake sturgeon by Kathleen Lavey.  I’ll be quoting from the article more extensively in a minute, but for background, I’ll start with this excerpt:

This ancient family of fishes has been recognized since the Upper Cretaceous period (136 million years ago), at a time when dinosaurs were at the height of their development.  To a casual observer, a sturgeon looks like a curious blend of catfish and shark. Like a shark, it has a skeleton made of cartilage, not bone; like a catfish, it finds food with the help of “barbels” hanging like whiskers from its chin.

Sturgeon don’t have scales, but wide-set rows of bony plates called scutes. The toothless beasts vacuum up snails, crayfish, clams and insect larvae from lake and river bottoms.

It’s likely that females hatched during the administration of President Ulysses Grant still swim in the Great Lakes! Female sturgeon live up to 150 years; males up to 80. It takes 12 to 20 years for males to mature and up to 25 years for females to do so.

Wow.  An amazing fish, indeed!  Although not mentioned above, they’re a very large fish, and can be up to 7’ long, weighing over 200 lbs!  Here’s a picture from Michigan State University, of a graduate student researcher:

And a fingerling, from the Black River hatchery:

From Wiki, more about Lake Sturgeon:

In 1860, this species, taken on incidental catches of other fishes, was killed and dumped back in the lake, piled up on shore to dry and be burned, fed to pigs, or dug into the earth as fertilizer.  It was even stacked like cordwood and used to fuel steamboats. When their meat and eggs (cavier) became prized (around 1880), they were caught by every available means, including nets.  Over 5 million lb were taken from Lake Erie in a single year. The fishery collapsed, largely by 1900. They have never recovered. Like most sturgeons, the lake sturgeon is rare now and is protected in many areas.

Due to conservation efforts (such as the Onaway fish hatchering) and improvements in water quality in the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams that feed the lakes, lake sturgeon are making a modest come back.

In fact, fishing for lake sturgeon is actually legal.  Getting back to the Lansing State Journal article by Kathleen Lavey.  It is entitled:

8 sturgeon, more than 300 fishermen and a 66-minute season

Here are some excerpts:

GRANT TWP. – It’s the Friday night before winter sturgeon season starts on Black Lake, and Brian Bailey stands inside the door of a party tent, selling $5 admission buttons while wearing a crown and fake velvet cape with the image of a sturgeon on the back.

Inside, it feels like Christmas Eve. Volunteers in fleece and flannel sell tickets for beer and serve chili from slow cookers. With their shanties in place, fishermen and women listen to live, mostly country music, swap fish stories and discuss their hopes for the next morning.

Bailey earned the crown, cape and title of “Sturgeon King” by spearing the biggest fish out of six caught in 2016, a whopping 97-pound, 70½-inch female.

Now he’s presiding over the annual shivaree — the word denotes a noisy party — thrown by the Black Lake chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow. The group’s members have worked tirelessly to save the threatened prehistoric fish, a toothless, bottom-feeding giant that can grow up to 8 feet long and live for 150 years.

The brief, shining ice-fishing season — which begins on the first Saturday of February and can last an hour, five days or anything in between — is their moment to enjoy the results of their hard work.

He called it “exhilarating.”

“You can’t explain it,” he said, with a wide smile at the memory. “You’re pulling this thing through a 4-by-8-foot hole in the ice.”

This year, 332 licensed fishermen and women checked in at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources field office in Onaway or on the ice to pick up flags and tags, signs they had permission to peer through holes in the ice starting at 8 a.m. Feb. 4.

They set up shanties over the 15-square-mile lake’s dozen or so sandbars and readied their spears for a chance at catching the biggest fish Michigan’s lakes have to offer.

The brief, shining ice-fishing season — which begins on the first Saturday of February and can last an hour, five days or anything in between — is their moment to enjoy the results of their hard work.

The shivaree is an acknowledgment of efforts to restock sturgeon populations in Black Lake and nearby Mullet and Burt lakes. It celebrates the fact that spear-fishing is simply a way of life in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

Here’s a short video from the article about this year’s Black Lake catch:


The full article describes this year’s goings-on in detail.  Click HERE to check it out.

Time for some local GE Pano shots. I’ll start with this by Jason Barnes, taken about a mile and a half SE of my landing:

A couple of guys walking their dogs. How pastoral. Wait!  Is that a dog next to the road taking a dump?  Moving right along . . .

I’m always a sucker for a scenic hay bale shot.  Here’s one (from 5 miles NW of my landing) by David Coats:

I’ll close with (what else) a sunset shot over Black Lake by David Martinez:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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