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 2332; A Landing A Day blog post number 763.
My local map puts me right on the shore of Omak Lake, not far from Omak and Okanogan:
Zooming back a little, you can see a veritable plethora of small towns with peculiar names:
Synarep? Aenas? Disautel? Nespelem? Omak? Sounds like I landed in a Middle Eastern country! Malott, Okanogan and Conconcully – while not run-of-the-mill town names – don’t sound particularly Middle Eastern. And then there’s Riverside.
Apparently (based on the title of this post), most of these little towns are totally hookless.
Let’s check out my watershed analysis:
Looks straightforward enough, eh? A drop of rain that falls on my landing would go straightaway to Omak Lake (just missing Kartar Creek, which, by the way, also sounds Middle Eastern); on to No Name Creek (great non-Middle Eastern name!); on to the Okanogan River.
Well, the above analysis is what I entered into my landing spreadsheet. But then, I took a closer look:
Follow No Name Creek “downstream.” Oops! It doesn’t continue to the north! In fact, it must flow south, also into Omak Lake. Conclusion? Omak Lake has no outlet, and is internally-drained! Further research quickly verifies this conclusion.
It’s time for that time-honored tradition, my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight to my landing location. Simply click HERE to check it out.
And yes, GE Street View does allow for a look at my landing:
And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:
Because Omak Lake is internally-drained, I don’t have much of a watershed analysis. A drop of water that falls on my landing ends up in Omak Lake. That’s it! I’ll save some GE Panoramio shots of the lake for the end of the post.
Of my four titular towns, I think I’ll start with Okanogan (pop 2550), which is pretty much hookless. According to Wiki, it means rendezvous or meeting place in the local Indian (Okanogan) dialect. From the town’s website, here’s a shot of the Okanogan Valley at Okanogan:
And a couple of cool back-in-the-day shots, also from the town’s website:
Like I said, there’s not much to say about Okanogan. Moving along to Omak (pop 4,850). Wiki has this to say about the name:
The name Omak comes from the Okanagan placename umák, or the Salishan term Omache—which is said to mean “good medicine” or “plenty.”
In spite of an incredibly robust Wiki entry for Omak, the only thing that caught my eye is that one Don McCormack, a Major League Baseball player, is a native son.
It turns out that I run across the hometowns of major leaguers all the time, and I generally don’t bother inserting them into a post. But I dutifully checked out Don, and my interest was immediately piqued.
Looking at Baseball-Reference.com, I found this that summarizes McCormack’s big league career:
Well, I’ve been a Phillies fan since August of 1980 when I moved to the Philadelphia area (from Ohio). Soon after my arrival, the Phillies won the National League East (by the skin of their teeth), beat the Astros in the NLCS (an incredibly dramatic series) and beat the Royals in the World Series.
Baseball Reference told me that Don’s first game was very late in the season, on September 30 (in Philadelphia) against the Cubs. By this time, I was totally hooked by the Phils.
Going into their Sep 30 game against the Cubs, the Phillies were a scant 1½ games behind the Expos, with 5 games to go. This is serious nail-biting time. So here’s how the game ended:
So, how did our hero do?
Hmmm. He got in the game but didn’t get a plate appearance. The play-by-play gives some more info:
So, he replaced Keith Moreland (who caught almost the whole game) in the top of the 9th. With the Phillies leading 14-2, there was essentially a zero chance that the Phils would have to bat in the bottom of the inning. Oh well, I guess that the manager wanted to give Moreland a rest (or maybe Keith had a boo-boo and needed a break).
McCormack’s next appearance was on Oct 4th. By this time, the Phillies were in first place, one game ahead of the Expos, with two games to go. Nail-biting time? It doesn’t get any more dramatic! And who are the Phillies playing? The Expos! In Montreal . . .
In the top of the 9th inning with the Phillies at bat (and the losing 3-4):
- Pete Rose singled.
- Bake McBride reached base on a fielder’s choice (Rose out at second).
- McBride was advanced to 2nd on a ground ball out by Mike Schmidt.
- Bob Boone then hit an RBI single, scoring McBride as the Phillies tied the score!
- Bob Dernier, a speedy outfielder for the Phils, was brought in to pinch run for catcher Boone. No more runs were scored.
In the bottom of the 9th, McCormack entered the game, taking over catching duties from Boone.
The game was still tied in the 11th and our hero hadn’t yet made a plate appearance. Here’s the Baseball Reference play by play for the top of the11th:
Here’s my play-by-play:
- Pete Rose led off with a single.
- Bake McBride popped out to the catcher. One away.
- Mike Schmidt is up next. In the celebrated phraseology of the Phil’s immortal play-by-play announcer Harry Kalas: “Bahnsen sets, and delivers. . . Swing and a long fly ball . . . it’s way back . . .way back . . . it’s outta here! Home Run, Michael Jack Schmidt! And the Phillies take a 6-4 lead in the top of the 11th.”
- Next up, Don McCormack: “In his first major league plate appearance, up comes catcher Don McCormack. McCormack is hitting for Bob Boone who was replaced for a pinch runner back in the ninth . . . Swing and a line drive just over the short stop’s glove and in to left field! And McCormack just got his first Major League hit! He’s batting a thousand! The Phillies are signaling for the ball to be tossed into the Phillies’ dugout, so that Don’ll have something for his trophy case . . . “
- Colorman Rich “Whitey” Ashburn couldn’t help himself: “So McCormack is batting a thousand? No doubt it’s all downhill from here, Harry.”
- Lonnie Smith flied out to center field. Two away.
- Tug McGraw (in a rare plate appearance for the Phillies closer) grounded to the shortstop, with the force out at second for the third out. Who was forced out? Don McCormack . .
The Expos failed to score in the bottom of the 9th, and the Phillies won the game, 6-4. This gave them a 2 game lead over the Expos, with only one game to go.
“And your Philadelphia Phillies are the 1980 champions of the National League Eastern Division . . .”
I can’t say I have specific memories of this game, but I’ll guarantee I watched. I’m sure I went crazy with Schmidt’s home run (and hardly noticed Don McCormack).
To put a cap on Don McCormack’s major league career: He played in only three games the next year, with 4 plate appearances. He got one hit.
His career batting average is a stellar .400 (2 for 5). He went on to be a minor league manager, posting a 673-657 record with three teams.
So Nespelem made the cut, eh? The first thing I noticed about Nespelem (besides its dot on the map) was when I was looking at GE Pano shots and I came across this:
Here’s the shot, by Jim Nieland, with his caption below:
This 12-foot sculpture of sasquatch is visible from SR 155 on Disautel Summit, near Nespelem, Washington. The statue was erected by the Planning Department of the Colville Confederated Tribes on October 16, 2005.
Wow. For some reason, I wouldn’t expect the Indians to put up a Sasquatch statue! I bet there’s a story behind the story . . .
Moving right along, this from Wiki:
The name Nespelem is derived from a local Indian term meaning “large flat meadow”. Nespelem is the site of a historic Nez Perce cemetery. Among those buried there is Chief Joseph.
I have clear memories of featuring Chief Joseph in a previous post, and in February 2016, I in fact wrote a post that featured Chief Joseph because I landed near the town of Joseph, Oregon. Here’s an excerpt from that post, which is totally worth the read:
So, back to Joseph OR. As you may suspect by now, it was not named after Joseph Smith. In fact, it was named after a Chief of the Nez Perce Nation, Chief Joseph. I found Chief Joseph to be fascinating; please read the following closely to appreciate the compelling story. I’ve done some editing, but the following is generally from Wiki:
Chief Joseph (1840 – 1904) was the chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce. For his principled resistance to the removal of his people to a reservation, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker.
Joseph the Younger succeeded his father as chief in 1871. Before his death, the latter counseled his son:
“My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.”
Chief Joseph commented “I clasped my father’s hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”
The Nez Perce suffered many injustices at the hands of settlers and prospectors, but out of fear of reprisal from the US military, Joseph never allowed any violence against them, instead making many concessions to them in hopes of securing peace.
Summarizing a lengthy Wiki passage: after much tactically maneuvering & negotiations, the U.S. Army demanded that the Nez Perce relocate to a reservation in Idaho. Joseph decided that peace was more important than his dying fathers’ wishes, but other, younger Nez Perce chiefs wanted to fight. I’ll pick up the story here, from Wiki:
With 2,000 U.S. soldiers in pursuit, Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs led 800 Nez Perce towards freedom at the Canadian border. For over three months, the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled their pursuers traveling 1,600 miles (2,570 km) across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
General Howard, leading the opposing cavalry, was impressed with the skill with which the Nez Perce fought, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions with no food or blankets, Chief Joseph formally surrendered. Here are the words attributed to Chief Joseph at the formal surrender:
“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
His speech brought attention – and therefore credit – his way. He earned the praise of General William Tecumseh Sherman and became known in the press as “The Red Napoleon“.
Joseph’s fame did him little good. By the time Joseph surrendered more than 200 of his followers had died. His plight, however, did not end. Although he had negotiated a safe return home for his people, four hundred of the Nez Perce were taken on unheated rail cars to Fort Leavenworth in eastern Kansas to held in a prisoner-of-war campsite for eight months. Toward the end of the following summer the surviving Nez Perce were taken by rail to a reservation in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) for ten years. Many of them died of epidemic diseases while there. Finally they were returned to a reservation around Kooskia, Idaho.
In 1879 Chief Joseph went to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Rutherford B. Hayes and plead the case of his people. Finally, in 1885, Chief Joseph and his followers were allowed to return to the Pacific Northwest, although many, including Chief Joseph, were taken to the Colville Indian Reservation in NW Washington, far from both the rest of their people in Idaho and their homeland in the Wallowa Valley.
In his last years Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America’s promise of freedom and equality might one day be fulfilled for Native Americans as well. An indomitable voice of conscience for the West, he died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland. According to his doctor, he died “of a broken heart.”
Here’s a shot of the Chief with his family. I don’t blame them for not smiling.
Back to now. It’s time for a very quick visit to Conconully (Wiki picture):
Quite the lovely setting for a town! I told you it would be quick. So, it’s time to move on to Omak Lake. From Wiki:
Omak Lake is a saline endorheic [internally-drained] lake that covers 3,244 acres and is fed by three small creeks. Omak is the largest saline lake in Washington, with a maximum depth of 325 feet.
Omak Lake occupies a former channel of the Columbia River. The Okanagan people once believed that Omak Lake was inhabited by spirits, and avoided the area.
Most of the lake is surrounded by granite or gneiss that was originally cut by the Columbia River when lava flows once pushed and moved the river about. This trench was later scoured and deepened by the glaciers of the Pleistocene. There are many examples of glacial scouring (grooves) in the smooth rock slabs found at lake level.
[Here’s a GE Pano shot of some grooves by goodrf2]:
Back to JustGetOut:
The lake level has dropped roughly 15 feet since 1900. The salinity of water is what causes the white deposit (sodium carbonate) on the rocks bordering the lake and what gives the water its smooth, soapy feel.
An interesting side trip is to visit the Balance Rock, a huge glacial erratic that sits on a pedestal (the hard erratic has shielded the softer ground below it from eroding).
Before a quick visit to Balance Rock (which is very cool), I’ll cutt to a cutthroat video (about cutthroat trout in Omak Lake from Fishing With Ladin):
About the Omak Balance Rock (from Wiki):
Omak Rock, also known as Balance Rock, is a balancing rock in the Colville Indian Reservation.
Here’s a GE shot showing a Pano photo:
The Pano photo is great, so I’m going to save it for the end of the post. But I will post this Wiki shot of the rock:
Wow. Is this cool or what?
Back to Wiki:
It is positioned within the vicinity of the 1872 North Cascades earthquake. Local legend has it that the rock was the epicenter of the quake.
The fact of its survival has been the basis of studies to help determine the acceleration and intensity of the quake. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation believe that the rock represents a symbol of nature’s perfection in the region.
Hmmmmm. This last sentence seems contrary to what I quoted earlier: “The Okanagan people once believed that Omak Lake was inhabited by spirits, and avoided the area.” Oh well.
From Wiki about the earthquake:
The 1872 North Cascades earthquake occurred at 9:40 p.m. local time on December 14 in northern Washington State. A maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) was assessed for several locations, though less intense shaking was observed at many other locations in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.
Because the earthquake occurred before seismometers were operating in the region, the magnitude of the shock and its epicenter were never precisely determined. The intensity reports available for the event were studied, and various epicenters for the event were proposed based on these limited data.
One study presented an estimated moment magnitude of 6.5–7.0, with a proposed location on the east side of the Cascade Range near Lake Chelan [about 50 miles west of my landing].
Though the earthquake was felt over a very wide area (from the Pacific Ocean to Montana, and British Columbia to Oregon) the area that was most affected was largely unpopulated, and very few homes existed and very few descriptions of damage are available.
When you look at how vulnerable the rock looks, it’s amazing that it survived a strong earthquake!
This awesome rock reminds me of my January 2011 Fredericksburg, Texas post. Here’s an excerpt:
Balanced Rock was a famous local landmark that perched atop Bear Mountain ten miles north of Fredericksburg. The natural wonder stone pillar, about the size of a small elephant, precariously balanced on its small tip. It fell prey to vandals who dynamited it off its base in April 1986.
Are you kidding me!?! OK, this isn’t as bad as the Taliban and the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, but give me a break! I would have no sympathy for the scoundrels who perpetrated this atrocity!
Here’s a picture of Balanced Rock back when it was still balanced:
I received some interesting comments on that post. From Louis:
On February 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm, Louis said:
Pertaining to Balanced Rock: Some friends and I were actually on top of Balanced Rock the night it was blown up, we used to go there regularly. We found out about it the next day at school and it creeped us out wondering if individuals that blew it up were waiting for us to leave. There was not much of an investigation and it’s believed by some that the adjacent quarry which owned the mountain blew it up before it could be made into a state park.
On July 26, 2013 at 5:35 am, Clark Ent said:
That is horrible news. I was thinking of taking my daughters there to see it. As I was checking out the internet in my effort to find it ( I went as a child) I saw that it had been blown up.
On May 13, 2016 at 9:55 pm, 86 Grad said:
“…believed by some that the adjacent quarry which owned the mountain blew it up before it could be made into a state park.”
Believed by everyone else to be the class of 1986.
Time for some GE pano shots of the Lake. I’ll start with this wonderful winter scene by Zak Scott:
And this by Jamesporn:
Yo James! About your name! I’m glad you’ve switched over to landscapes!
Here’s a shot by Okanogan Outdoors:
As promised, I’ll close with this Pano shot by Moun10Bike:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2017 A Landing A Day