This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Little Rivers ( #AtoZChallenge )

There are rivers that are little and there are rivers named Little River.  Little or big, all rivers play an important role in the watersheds they encompass...

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter L


Little Rivers

Little River in Great Smoky Mountains  (Townsend)

         There are over 20 rivers that I could find listed for the United States with the name Little River as well as scores of rivers with "Little" used as an adjective in the names--quite a few more than rivers with "Big" as a name or adjective.  Maybe it's something to do with the nature of a smaller river as opposed to a larger one.  After all, a name like Mississippi sounds a lot better than just plain old "Big River" (which is what some have called the Mississippi). 

          One of the rivers near me looks little in size as in regard to waterflow, but very wide in respect to the concrete covered river channel--in other words it looks more like a highway than a river.  I'd say most if not all who are reading this have seen the Los Angeles River in movies.  From the giant ants seeking refuge in the river drains in Them! (1954) to teenagers racing cars in Grease (1978) to the car chase in Terminator 2 (1991) and many more, the Los Angeles River has been a frequent setting for all sorts of action scenes in films.  But one driving over this waterway might never guess that it is a river in these areas where it has been paved over.

         In West Virginia one can find the somewhat little Lost RiverThis unique 31 mile river is actually part of the  Cacapon River in the Appalachian Mountains.  The portion that is "lost" eventually disappears underground and remerges downstream as the Cacapon,  The Lost River gets its name from the fact that it is what is called a "losing stream" which is a waterway that loses water as it flows downstream.  Most rivers are "gaining streams" because they get bigger.  Where does the water go when it's losing?   It seeps into the water table or disappears into the ground.  

        One of my favorite rivers is the scenic 60 mile Little River in Tennessee.  This river starts in the Great Smoky Mountains and ends up in the Fort Loudon Lake near Rockford.  The Little River in the national park and through the towns of Townsend and Walland is a much used recreation area for those who want to swim, float, or fish.  Back in the early seventies my friend Vernon and I floated down the Little River from Walland to Rockford.  It was a wonderfully relaxing few hours that I wouldn't mind doing again one day.  Maybe someday...

         Do you have a favorite "Little River"?   Which films have you seen that featured a scene set in the Los Angeles River basin?   What is your favorite song by The Little River Band?  

Since I've been reminiscing, here's one you might remember...

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Kankakee River ( #AtoZChallenge )

       "Can you come to Kissimmee in Kankakee?"  Maybe there's a song there somewhere?    


#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter K

West Virginia state Capitol in Charleston on the banks of the Kanawha River  (source)

Kankakee River

         The Holston and the French Broad Rivers converge in Knoxville to form the Tennessee River.  I suppose those who named the rivers back in the early days of the American conquest of itself (or was it self discovery?) could have very well named the river the Knox or the Knoxville River but they didn't.  This naming would have worked out for me in context of my A to Z Challenge K post, but that foresight wasn't there.  Thankfully so I might add.

         Still, there are plenty of "K" rivers from which to choose using the criteria of rivers that I've crossed, seen, or had some affect on me in a personal way.  There is the delightful sounding Kissimmee River in Florida, a river that I've crossed over a few times.  Or I might add the equally musical sounding Kalamazoo River in Michigan.  I don't have a girl in Kalamazoo, but I've crossed the river a few times and who doesn't like saying "Kalamazoo"?  Makes one want to sing a song.

        The Kansas River--also known as the Kaw River (that's two "K" names for one river!)--is one that I've crossed over a number of times but barely noticed if at all.  Personally I'm glad that the name Kansas River has been the preferred title over Kaw River.  The latter makes me think of a crow's call which is harsh and not particular romantic sounding.  Maybe Kansas doesn't sound all that exotic either, but at least it's a more than one syllable name.

         A good choice for me might have been the Kanawha River in West Virginia.  I've crisscrossed over that river many times while traveling through West Virginia and it is a very scenic river.  One particularly memorable view of the river is the one I've seen in Charleston, WV, the state capital and the birthplace of my father.  I don't exactly recall why he was born in Charleston and since his parents apparently returned to their hometown of Clarksburg fairly quickly, my father didn't have any great attachment to the city.  But it's in Kanawha County on the banks of the Kanawha River.

         However my choice for "K" is the Kankakee River in Indiana and Illinois.  For one thing the name has 3 K's--what a tribute to the letter K!   This river begins in Indiana and passes through the area of Indiana where I lived back in the 1960s.  After entering Illinois the river passes through Kankakee County passing the city of Kankakee until it eventually joins the Des Plaines River to become the Illinois River.

         I hope that wasn't too much of an overdose of Ks for you.  I was O K with it.  

       Are you familiar with any of these K rivers? Can you think of any songs that mention some of these K names? Is there any state in the U.S. that you think of as being particularly boring?

Monday, April 12, 2021

James River ( #AtoZChallenge )

       Jamestown Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.  The town was established in 1607 along the Powhatan River which was later renamed by the colonists as the James River after King James I...


#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter J

James River

James River at the crossing of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Wikipedia)

         In the far western portion of Virginia the Jackson River runs for nearly 100 miles until it joins the Cowpasture River to form the historic James River. When I first noted the Jackson river name I thought it quite possible that it was named after one of my distant relatives. It may have been a relative, but the river's namesake is one William Jackson who first settled on the river that bears his name in 1750--a few years before the first Jackson that I am aware of in my family who came to the United States. Maybe they were somehow related, but I have not found any indication of this in my family records.
        Most likely I have crossed the Jackson River at some point in my life, but I have no recollection of doing so.  However, the James River is one that I have frequently crossed and noticed in various parts of the state of Virginia.  When I lived in Richmond I often encountered the James River since the city sits along its flow.  Later downriver the James also passes by the historic towns of Williamsburg and Jamestown before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay.

       As is often the case, when I was living in Richmond I rarely paid the James River much mind.  At the time I was aware of the controversy surrounding the dumping of the insecticide Kepone into the river, but this wasn't of that much concern to me or most anyone I knew. Fortunately the state government enacted measures to clean the river and get rid of most of the contaminants. 

       After I had moved away from Richmond I started reading more about the Civil War and the important role the James River played.  Now I'd like to go back and explore more of the river sites and hike whatever trails might follow the river.  Funny how we often neglect to do things in the area where we live.

          Recently I watched a fanciful adventure movie called Sahara (2005) with Matthew McConaughey.  The premise of the film was that a Confederate ironclad ship with a treasure of gold had escaped from Richmond near the end of the war going down the James River to the ocean where it eventually sailed across the Atlantic to land in Africa.  After the film I looked up the story and found that the ship escape was based to some extent on fact.  The Africa part was from the writer's imagination, but the James River part was real.

         From the views I've had of the James River it is a lovely river that is 444 miles long (if the source Jackson River is included) which would make it Virginia's longest river.  Someday I'd like to go upriver from Richmond and explore more of the James.  Or maybe just go anywhere along the river and just watch it flow.   What a great way to spend part of a summer's day.

            What is an place of interest near you that you have yet to visit?   Do you ever go to places along a river?   What would be a better solution to dumping industrial wastes into a river?