A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Snelling California’

Snelling and Merced, California

Posted by graywacke on February 20, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2248; A Landing A Day blog post number 676.

Dan:  After landing in a larger USer (undersubscribed state – NV); I did it again, but this time the large USer is . . . CA.  This moved my Score down from 1061 to 1006.  Check out the “About Landing (Revisited)” tab above to see what I’m talking about (if you’re curious).

Moving right along, here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed closest to tiny Snelling (pop 231) but not far from the major metropolis in the area, Merced (pop 82,000):

landing 2

Here’s my very local streams-only map:

landing 3a

Note that Street Atlas doesn’t give me the name of my local watershed stream; it simply calls it “stream perennial.”  Anyway, this unnamed tributary flows to the Merced River (1st hit ever!).   Interestingly, see how my little stream flows due east?  This is opposite of the Merced, which is flowing due west.

Zooming back quite a bit:

landing 3

As you can see, the Merced makes its way to the San Joaquin (11th hit).  The San Joaquin joins up with the Sacramento to form the headwaters of San Francisco Bay (32nd hit).

I will confess here of a woeful ignorance on my part:  I didn’t realize that it’s the Merced River that (along with the glaciers) carved Yosemite Valley, and that it’s the Merced River that tumbles over Yosemite Falls (see above map)!  I’ll use any excuse for a pretty picture – here’s a gratuatous shot of the Merced River coming out of the Yosemite Valley (Wiki, by Chensiyaun):


Here’s a little info on the river from Wiki:

In the early 19th century, several military expeditions sent by Spanish colonists from coastal California traveled into the Central Valley. One of these trips, headed by Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga, arrived on the south bank of the Merced River on September 29, 1806. They named the river Rio de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (River of Our Lady of Mercy), who is the patron saint of Barcelona and is celebrated on September 24.

Of course, numerous Indian tribes (and thousands of Indians) lived along the Merced from Yosemite down to the confluence with the San Joaquin.  Of course, they were mercilessly driven out / slaughtered, mainly fueled by the gold rush . . .

Speaking of the gold rush, the Merced River valley (mainly above Snelling) was placer mined using huge dredging machines that dug up the sand and gravel along the river (separating out flakes of gold as they dredged).  Here’s some info from MuseumCa.com:

The Snelling district is in eastern Merced County along the Merced River between the towns of Snelling and Merced Falls.  The town, named in 1851 for Charles Snelling, who operated a hotel and ranch here, was the governmental seat of Merced County from 1857 until 1872.  Gold dredging began in 1907 and continued until 1919.  There was dredging again from 1929 until 1942 and 1946 to 1952.  The value of the total output of the district is unknown, but the dredges are estimated to have produced about $17 million.

The gold was recovered from stream gravels and flood plain and terrace deposits in and adjacent to the Merced River.  The gravels are loose with very little clay and range from 20 to 35 feet in depth.  The dredged area is about nine miles long and ½ to 1½ miles wide.

Note that the town of Snelling was the county seat of Merced County from 1857 until 1872.  Long-time ALAD readers are away that I periodically show pictures of majestic courthouses (when I’m so inclined).  Well, this is a little different.  It turns out that the 1857 courthouse still exists!  And check it out!  Here’s a back-in-the-day shot from CourtHouseHistory.com:

courthouse 1

And here’s what it looks like today (from NoeHill.com):


This is the most understated county courthouse I’ve seen so far . . .

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight into the Central Valley of California.  Click HERE, enjoy the flight, then hit your back button.

Street View coverage, while not bad, doesn’t provide a shot of my landing.  However, it does provide a shot of the unnamed stream that is my local watershed stream:

ge dana slough map

And check this out!  Here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge dana slough

So my stream has a name!  I landed in the watershed of Dana Slough.  There.  That feels better.

I had the orange dude turn to the right a little:

ge dana slough2

See the cattle?  At the end of this post is a much better photo (a GE Pano shot) of the cattle that hang out along Dana Slough.

So I’ve already said all I have to say about Snelling, so that leaves Merced.  No offense to Merced, but I couldn’t really a lot to feature.  But I did notice that Wiki’s entry for Merced has a section entitled “Hmong Community:”

The Hmong began to settle in Merced in the 1970s and the 1980s.  The Hmong settled Merced and other areas in the Central Valley of California after the conclusion of the Laotian Civil War, when Communist forces won and began to oppress the Hmong, who had fought for the U.S. (anti-Communist) side. The Hmong fled to refugee camps in Thailand, then moved to the United States.

Members of the Hmong community settled in Merced settled because Dang Moua, a community leader and former employee at the Embassy of the United States in Laos, promoted Merced.  Historically, as much as 15% of Merced’s population was Hmong, although it is currently less than 10%.

Going back to the Vietnam era, I remember there being a tribe from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia who were inclined to (and therefore recruited to) side with the U.S. against the Viet Cong.  Maybe I kinda sorta remembered that they were the Hmong. 

Anyway, I found a website:  YouKnowYouveLivedInThailandWhen.com that had a good write-up on the Hmong people (by Josh at Asia Backpackers).  Here are some excerpts:

Since the late 18th century the Hmong slowly migrated to Southeast Asia from the mountainous regions of southwest China. The history of the Hmong people is difficult to trace; they have an oral tradition, but there are no written records. Hmong history has been passed down through legends and ritual ceremonies from one generation to another as well as through Hmong textile art or story cloths sewn by the women.

The Hmong were first recorded in Chinese annals as a rebellious people banished from the central plains around 2500 B.C. by the legendary Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) of China.  Recent studies of both their linguistics and DNA has suggested that they have occupied the same areas of southern China for over 2,000 years

The majority of Hmong people fled Laos in the mid 1970’s after the Vietnam war and when Laos was taken over by a communist regime, who then proceeded to persecute them for helping the Americans in their ‘Secret War’ against the Viet Cong.

The Hmong language is far from standardized and includes a mixture of various dialects. Most Hmong today are likely to speak to each other in the languages from their chosen country, such as English, Laotian, Chinese or Thai, but will still preserve their own language. All the Hmong share the same set of root words and grammar structure; they can generally communicate with each other inspite of different dialects.

Hmong people cannot be characterized as subscribing to a single belief system as they believe strongly that their physical well-being cannot be separated from their spiritual health and that the spiritual realm is highly influential and dictates what happens in the physical world. According to these beliefs, everything possesses a spirit, both animate and inanimate objects.

Over the last 40 years or so some Hmong have become Christian but they still only make up a small percentage of the total population.

Here are some pictures of Thai Hmong from the same website:





There’s a dearth of GE Panoramio shots anywhere close to my landing, although as promised earlier in this post, there is one showing cattle along Dana Slough (by Ray1623).  I’ll close with Ray’s somewhat exotic shot of long-horned cattle:

pano Ray1623

That’ll do it . . .




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