Friday, January 29, 2016

The Second Battle of Sabine Pass

Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, Texas
March 14, 2010

1936 Texas Centennial Monument
In 1936 the State of Texas erected hundreds of historical markers, monuments, and memorials throughout the state to celebrate the centennial of Texas independence. Although there was not much military action in Texas during the Civil War, a number of sites in Texas where people witnessed the carnage of war were marked in 1936. This is one such place, the ground of the Second Battle of Sabine Pass.

On September 8, 1863, a flotilla of Union gunboats and transports with infantry troops attempted to silence the Confederate guns and 44 men here with a plan to disembark the troops and invade this corner of Texas. It was a minor battle, but received much attention as the Union attack was thwarted with little or no casualties amongst the Confederates.

Since there is not much to see here, my visit was a short one. Just long enough for me to read the markers and monuments and visualize how the battle may have unfolded.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Man, His Truck, and The Unconquered Road

The Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
October 12, 2010

A stop at the visitor center has usually been the first order of business when I get to a national park. The visitor center is typically near the entrance and gives me an opportunity to stretch and get a feel of the lay of the land. The lay of the Canyonlands is immense, so much that it has three districts with the entrances to these districts tens of miles apart. A quick look at the visitor center exhibits and the park map gave me my agenda for the morning in The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. A scenic drive down the dead-end road to Big Spring Canyon Overlook with a side trip on the Elephant Hill access road for a distant view of the Needles. Also, a short hike on the Pothole Point Trail for my daily exercise.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Four Corners, a Quadripoint

Teec Nos Pos, Arizona
December 27, 2001

What’s better than a tripoint? A quadripoint. Although there are 62 state tripoints, there is only one quadripoint where the borders of four states converge together. This spot in the United States is in the Four Corners region where the southeast corner of Utah, the southwest corner of Colorado, the northwest corner of New Mexico, and the northeast corner of Arizona come together. Being the only place where four states meet, the Navajo Nation has made the quadripoint a tourist draw worthy of a one-of-a-kind photograph. When my derriere was planted firmly in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, I knew no one else in America was in four states at that same exact moment in time.

The Four Corners

Web Links

Wikipedia - Tripoint  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I Came, I Saw, I Conquered

Britton Hill, Lakewood Park, Walton County, Florida
March 29, 2010

I came to Florida, not to do daring feats or register lasting achievements. I came to Florida with simple plans: to visit a dear friend and to ride an airboat in the Everglades. As I entered Florida from the north from Alabama ...

I saw a small plus (+) sign, snuggled next to the Alabama state boundary, challenging me to the Highest Point in Florida. It was near a major highway not too far off my intended path. I asked myself why would I want to climb this mountain, and I answered it the same as the famous Alpinist George Mallory, "Because it's there." I pointed my truck westwards into the setting sun and sped towards the Florida peak to get there before the dusk. As the sun was nearing the horizon behind me, a sign by the highway led me to a country road and the County park that encompassed this high land of Florida. I parked my truck in the lot of Lakewood Park, and I saw the challenge that laid ahead of me. I was not deterred, and ...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hoosier Hill - The Highpoint of Indiana

Hoosier Hill, Franklin Township, Wayne County, Indiana
October 21, 2011

Although 912 feet higher in natural elevation than Britton Hill in Florida, the trek to the highest point in Indiana is as blasé as Florida's high point when it comes to mountain climbing. Hoosier Hill is one of the highpoints that is privately owned, but thanks to the property owners and a county road, it is easily accessible. I came to Hoosier Hill by way of a scenic detour on my way back to Nappanee, Indiana from a conference in Dayton, Ohio. North of Richmond near the northern border of Wayne County, the hill is really just a slight rise in the undulating countryside, but I guess you need to name these highpoints and Mole Hill just won’t do.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rocky Homes

Flagstaff to Marana, Arizona
March 3, 2010

Today, as I traveled from Flagstaff to Marana just north of Tucson, I visited a lot of homes and a lot of rocks. Here in central Arizona you don’t have many choices but to build right on the rocks, in the rocks, or as part of the rocks. Here are three rocky ways I discovered to have a home in Arizona.

Homes Built in a Rock

Montezuma Castle
Around 700 A.D. the Sinagua people were migrating and came upon the waters of Beaver Creek just north of Camp Verde and the Verde River. With plenty of water and fertile ground, the Sinagua put down roots although they decided to put their homes into the sky. Within the high limestone cliffs bordering Beaver Creek, the Sinagua became cliff-dwellers and built their homes into the cliffs for comfort and for protection. An area inhabited by the Sinagua with a spectacular example of one of their cliff-dwellings is protected by Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Also protected by the National Monument but several miles away from the main unit of the park is Montezuma Well. The Sinagua people abandoned central Arizona around 1425, but the Yavapai believe their people were brought into the world at the well which is a limestone sinkhole. The pond in the sinkhole has an outlet to Beaver Creek along with a canal system which delivered water further downstream. The well is coming under the assault of modern man with the spreading of Illinois Pondweed, but it is still a sight with small dwellings squeezed into the limestone walls surrounding the pond.

Montezuma Well

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Campbell Hill - The Highpoint of Ohio

Campbell Hill, Bellefontaine, Ohio
May 29, 2012

“Are you a highpointer?” The question, despite me being on top of Ohio’s highpoint, caught me by surprise. I hemmed and hawed and sputtered, “No, not really. But I’m here because of this being a highpoint.” As he replied that he was a highpointer, I quickly realized there is no hemming and hawing about being a highpointer. Either you are a highpointer or you are not. And it dawned on me that I was indeed a highpointer.