Earlier this month my wife, son, and I flew from Sacramento to Chicago, then up and across the lake to Traverse City, Michigan. There we rented a car, picked up our daughter, who was finishing a 3-week ballet intensive at Interlochen Arts Camp, then spent the next several days visiting relatives in southern Michigan and sight-seeing in Chicago.
Flying across the West on a mostly-clear day, in a window seat with a good view, is a treat for anyone fascinated by landscapes and geomorphology. Physiographic provinces aren’t abstractions—they’re very distinctive from the air. I love tracing the roads, rivers, and mountains on this slowly scrolling relief map with no names, looking for the places I’ve been, and potential new destinations for future travels!
Somewhere over Nevada: Goshute Lake (center), the Cherry Creek Range (left center), and the Ruby Mountains (left distance)
Somewhere over Utah: Bingham Canyon Mine, according to the Internet and Kennecott Copper, “the world’s largest man-made excavation”.
Somewhere else over Utah: Gilbert Peak (13,442 feet, at center) and Gunsight Peak (lower and a bit to the left) in the High Uintas Wilderness.
Somewhere over Wyoming: the streams eroding these hills west of Saratoga resemble veins in a leaf.
Somewhere over Illinois: the southern edge of a storm system centered somewhere over Wisconsin.
Copyright © 2010 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.