Geographic jokes, on the Colorado and Green Rivers?

July 29, 2013

Can the scientist appreciate the beauty of creation as much as the non-scientist religious person?

Can you get the joke in this photo, without a smattering of knowledge of geography, and languages?  Or am I looking at it wrong?

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, in Canyonlands National Park.  Photo by Jim Collins

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, in Canyonlands National Park. Photo by Jim Collins, posted on Facebook by Canyonlands National Park

It’s a joke on a planetary scale, if not a cosmic one.

(Hints:  This is a photo looking from the north, I think; “Colorado” means “red” in Spanish.)

Update: Okay, Mr. Higginbotham convinced me.  We’re looking from the west, and that’s the Colorado coming from the top of the picture, and the Green coming from the bottom left; then the conjoined streams flow away, to the bottom right.  So, in the photo, the Colorado River is, appropriately, red, while the Green River is, fittingly, green

Not a majestic joke by Mother Nature, but a poetic way to remind us of the names of these rivers.

Poetry that might make us smile, too.

(It’s rare that these rivers run such dramatically different colors, especially with the Colorado that red, that far north.)

Google Maps aerial photo of the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers; match the geography with the other photo, and note the labels on this one.  Tip of the old scrub brush to Mr. Higginbotham.

Google Maps aerial photo of the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers; match the geography with the other photo, and note the labels on this one. Rotate this picture 90 degrees to the left, it matches up better.   Tip of the old scrub brush to Mr. J. A. Higginbotham.

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Millard Canyon, Utah — not named for Millard Fillmore

January 14, 2013

Winter view of Millard Canyon, Canyonlands NP, Utah

Caption from the NPS crew at Canyonlands National Park: View from the Maze: Millard Canyon’s winter mood. We are looking north. Note how the heat from the east to southeast facing cliffs has melted the snow below – even in this ultra-frigid time. Taking a break under a southeast facing cliff is a good way to warm up while on a Canyonlands hike. (GC) (via Facebook)

In a state where they once named the proposed state capital “Fillmore,” and the county in which that town sat, “Millard,” to try to curry favor with President Millard Fillmore for the state’s petition to gain statehood, one might logically think that a spectacular desert canyon not far away called Millard Canyon might also be named in honor of our 13th president.

LocMap Canyonlands National Park

Location map, Canyonlands National Park, image from Wikipedia

Not so, in this case.  According to John W. van Cott’s Utah Place Names (University of Utah Press, 1990):

MILLARD CANYON (Garfield County) originates at French Springs southeast of Hans Flat. The canyon drains north northeast into the Green River at Queen Anne Bottom. According to Baker, “They learned later that they had misunderstood this name; instead of honoring a president, it was named for an undistinguished `Miller’ who did nothing more than leave this small, mistaken mark on the map” (Baker, Pearl. Robbers Roost Recollections. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1976, p. 33). The name was even misspelled Millard.

Millard Fillmore is off the hook on this one.

Garfield County, Utah, was named after President James Garfield.

So, who was this “Miller” guy?

(Post inspired by image from the Canyonlands NP Facebook site; temperature at the time of the photo was near 0°F.)

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