A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘San Juan River’

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on April 20, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a twice-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2005; A Landing A Day post number 423.

Dan –  It’s getting a little scary – the USers just keep on comin’ . . . CO; 67/68 (barely!); 8/10 (6/6); 151.7.  Here’s my landing map:

 pag landing 1

Looking more closely, I landed in the boonies, but not too far from the town of Pagosa Springs:

 pag landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot confirms that I landed in the boonies:

 pag GE 1

This oblique GE (looking north) shot shows a very cool landscape.  My landing’s not in the center (as it usually would be); the valley east of my landing was intriguing, so I skewed this shot towards the east.

 pag GE 2

Looks to me like a classic U-shaped valley carved by a glacier . . .

 Although I suspect that there’s a stream with a name in the east-west valley just south of my landing (along the road in the shot above), I don’t know what it is.  This forever-to-be-unnamed stream flows east and discharges into the San Juan R (17th hit); on to the Colorado (160th hit).

 Just upstream along the banks of the San Juan is my titular town – Pagosa Springs.  From ghostdepot.com (a website about the Denver & Rio Grande Railway), this about the town’s history:

The old western town of Pagosa Springs was named by the Ute Indians after the nearby hot springs, from the Ute words “pah” meaning “water”, and “gosa” meaning “boiling”.  A growing resort town, more and more tourists are drawn to the therapeutic benefits of Pagosa Springs each year, as they visit the mineral baths and pools which are found in many of the motels in town.

Pagosa Springs was the center of a dispute between the Navajos and the Utes.  For centuries, they fought each other over ownership, for both tribes used the springs.  Small battles between the two tribes were commonplace, but failed to solve anything.  In 1866 the tribes decided to choose one man from each of their tribes.   The two men were to have a one on one battle, and the tribe who’s man survived would be the owners of the springs.

The Utes chose Albert Henry Pfieffer to be their fighter.  [Wait a second, it sounds like they probably picked a ringer.]  A U.S. Indian agent in New Mexico, Pfieffer had been friends of the Utes for a while, but was not so well liked by the Navajo.  Pfieffer picked Bowie knives as the weapon for the fight, and won quickly, killing the Navajo.  [I’ll say he was a ringer!]  The Utes took ownership of the springs.  By 1880, the U. S. government claimed ownership of the springs, along with one square mile of surrounding property.  A few years later, the bathhouses were built and the town of Pagosa Springs was born.

In one of the accounts of the fight that I read, Pfieffer simply threw the knife at his opponent, killing him.  The last thought of the poor Navajo:  “Hey!  That’s not fair . . . .”

 I hope the Utes enjoyed their brief tenure as sole owners of the springs.  They probably didn’t.

 A second point of interest is that I landed less than a mile from a Buddhist temple, Tara Mandala.  This GE shot shows the proximity:

 pag GE 3 near tara mandala temple

From Tara Mandala’s website, here’s some info:

Tara Mandala is an international Vajrayana Buddhist community with its home base in Pagosa Springs at 7,500 feet altitude in Southwest Colorado.  It is guided by Lama Tsultrim Allione, author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons. Lama Tsultrim has studied Tibetan Buddhism under traditional teachers for more than 45 years. Today, opportunities for quiet contemplation are rare, and places dedicated to long-term retreat are even more scarce. Meditation has a profound effect on the individual and its benefits emanate into the rest of the world.

In a chaotic and stressful world, Tara Mandala retreat center offers refuge, renewal and traditional Buddhist training through our residential Living Dharma program as well as group and solo retreats. Bordered by the San Juan National Forest and Southern Ute Tribal Land, the retreat center is on 700 acres of rolling hills and meadows adorned with many varieties of wild flowers, ponds, and forests. The land itself is a mandala with a stunning peak in the middle surrounded by four valleys. Retreat cabins are scattered across the landscape, and at its heart is the extraordinary three-story mandala Tara temple.

There you have it.  Click HERE to visit the website.

In this picture from the website, my landing would be just off the photo to the left.

 land1

I can imagine some folks out on the grounds meditating, when suddenly this huge yellow push pin drops down from the heavens.  I’m not sure how Buddhists would interpret this . . .

 I’ll close with this lovely shot of the San Juan river near Pagosa Springs (from TripAdvisor):

 pagosa-springs

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Bloomfield, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on March 19, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  After TX, I’m staying in the neighborhood (and a US neighborhood at that), with this landing in . . . NM; 66/75; 5/10; 1; 152.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Bloomfield and the San Juan River:


This was my 16th landing in the San Juan R watershed; on to the Colorado (149th hit).  Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing an arid landscape:


While perusing GE, I noted a peculiar heavy dark line across the earth, north of my landing:


Here’s a close-up of the western end of the line, showing that it’s an aqueduct heading into (or out of) a tunnel:


Using Street View, I was able to get this look at the aqueduct, where it crosses under a road a few miles west of my landing:


I’ve done a little searching, and couldn’t find any info about the aqueduct . . .

Moving right along, to Bloomfield.  Well, I’m here to say that I could nothing about the history of Bloomfield, or anything of particular interest about Bloomfield.  It’s pretty big, with a population of about 6,000.  I’m sure it’s a fine community, but some local historians need to put some local information out there on the web . . .

What I could find was that there’s an Anasazi site (part of the Chaco complex) just west of Bloomfield known as the Salmon Ruins.  From FirstPeople.us, I’ve excerpted from an article by Lynne Escue:

UPDATE:  I’ve been asked by Lynne Escue to remove my excerpts, so I did.  I suggest that you go to the First People website to read her article:

http://www.firstpeople.us/articles/The-Salmon-Ruins/The-Salmon-Ruins.html

Here are some pictures of  the ruins:


I’ll close with this shot of the outlet of the Navajo Dam (which spans the San Juan River), located about 20 mi NE of my landing:

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Mexican Hat, Utah

Posted by graywacke on October 5, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  This ugly stretch of OSers is continuing (up to 0/5) with today’s landing in . . . UT; 62/50; 4/10; 1; 152.6.  Note that after 12 in a row with 5/10+, I’m now at 4/10.  We’ll see how long this negative string goes.

Anyway, here’s my landing map:

landing

Wow, for the third time recently, I’ve landed in a total wilderness area.  As my loyal readers will recall, I recently landed in the Tonto National Forest in AZ, and then, few landings later, I landed in Glacier National Park.  Today, I landed in the absolutely breathtaking canyonlands of SE UT.   As you can see on my landing map, there are no roads anyplace close.  What is close is the San Juan River.  From my general geography/geology knowledge, I know that the San Juan has a wonderful canyon associated with it.

So, I went to Google Earth, and very accurately located my landing.  Check out where I landed!!!!!!

Google earth landing

I zoomed back a little . . .

google earth landing2

And zoomed back a little more. . . .

google earth landing3

Google Earth is truly amazing.  It really looks like the view is from an airplane.  Notice the little blue square right next to my landing?  That’s a photo posted on Google Earth.  With great anticipation, I clicked on it, since I knew I was going to have a view very local to my landing.  Here it is:

mouth of gulch where it meets the san juan

I’m blown away by my ability to take such an intimate look at my landing.  By the way, if you look back at my landing map, you can see that the above photo is of “Grand Gulch.”

I guess I should take care of a little watershed business . . . this was my 15th landing in the San Juan watershed, on to the Colorado (145th hit).

Anyway, here’s a somewhat broader view, showing my proximity to Mexican Hat:

landing2

Hmmmm.  See that funky part of Rt 261 north of Mexican Hat?  I need to zoom in on that!  Wow.  Take a look at this stretch of the road!

switch back road

So, I Googled “Rt 261 Utah switchbacks” and I found that this stretch of road traverses what is known as the Moki (or Mokee) Dugway.  Here’s a picture, with the caption below:

800px-Moki_Dugway

The Moki Dugway is part of Highway 261 about 24 miles south of Natural Bridges National Monument. The Moki Dugway gets its name from the carved hand- and foot-holds on cliff faces throughout the region created by the ancient Native Americans. Worn step-like paths can be found leading up cliffs to food storage areas, dwellings, springs, or up steep escarpments like the one shown here. This view shows switchbacks and the modern highway cuts along Utah Highway 261 where the highway crosses the southern escarpment of Cedar Mesa.

Here’s a sign before the road takes the plunge:

moki dugway

So, I guess I need to check out Mexican Hat.  From AmericanSouthwest.com:

After passing the eroded mesas of Monument Valley, highway US 163 crosses 20 miles of rather flat landscape past scattered Navajo houses to Mexican Hat, a small settlement named after a curious formation nearby consisting of a large flat rock 60 feet in diameter perched precariously on a much smaller base at the top of a small hill. The village itself is small, home to fewer than 100 people and offering few facilities, but the surrounding scenery is exceptional and not often visited, featuring 1,200 foot sandstone cliffs at the edge of Cedar Mesa, deep, layered canyons of the San Juan River, vast sandy desert plains, and a wide valley studded with isolated red rock buttes and mesas.

The three main sites of interest near Mexican Hat are the overlook at Muley Point, the entrenched river meanders at Goosenecks State Park and the red sandstone formations of Valley of the Gods.

So check out this picture of the Mexican Hat (before we check out the three main points of interest):

53 Mexican Hat, Utah

And this, of the San Juan River in Gooseneck State Park.

goosenecks

I remember studying this formation in geology class.  What happened is this:  ages ago, the San Juan was close to sea level, and was meandering its way along, as rivers do on floodplains close to sea level.  And then the Colorado Plateau began to uplift.  The meandering river was lifted in place, and the meanders cut down into the rock below.

I saw “Valley of the Gods Road” on my Moki Dugway map (you can too – see map above).  Here’s a supposed picture of sunrise at the Valley of the Gods (I say “supposed” because this picture looks doctored . . )”

sunrise at the valley of the gods

Muley Point is the other attraction near Mexican Hat.  Here’s the view from the Point:

Muley Point

This has been one inspirational landing.  I’ll close with a sunset shot also from Muley Point:

Muley Point Sunset


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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