Flying to Chicago

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.

→ Tim Messick Photography • Graphics

Copyright © 2010 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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3 Responses to Flying to Chicago

  1. Kathy Eyster says:

    Love these photos, Tim! My fav is somewhere over Wyoming…earth as graphic design! Sounds like you had a great trip! Would love to the the Cartier-Bresson exhibit. Maybe if I travel back to visit family before it’s over…

    BTW, how did you locate/identify the mountains in your pictures…they would be “unnamed” from 30,000 feet! 🙂

  2. Tim Messick says:

    Hi, Kathy. Gotta love Google Earth! I use it almost daily at work (for mapping and visual simulations), and it’s also perfect for figuring out where you were, “somewhere” during a flight from one place to another. I moved my eye elevation to about 35,000 feet, panned north, and “flew” along our approximate path until familiar shapes appeared. Had I been better prepared, though, I would only have needed good maps with me on the plane.

  3. Liz King says:

    Your plane had remarkably clean windows, compared to my own experience…

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