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A River Runs Through It -- and Under It

 I'll bet the reader has their favorite examples of important things that are best pursued indirectly.  For me, scenery is one of those.  The Cascade Mountains are off to my west.  I let them play peek-a-boo with me.  They pop out when I don't expect them to.

Perhaps it will take a long time for me to lose a sense of wonder at seeing water actually flowing in a river!  Spending too long in the American Southwest will do that to a person.

The water level on the Crooked River near Prineville OR was up to the thighs or waists of the fly fishermen, so it was not a good river for my little dog.

Small streams of water can be interesting, too.  We did short dog walks away from one campsite when I finally noticed a small spring and trickle of water alongside the road.   How could I have ignored it, three or four times!

There is an underground world of water that a person seldom thinks about.  It is vitally important in dry states.  We ignore it because we can't see it.  How did they locate and dig wells in the 1800s?


Ed said…
"How did they locate and dig wells in the 1800s?"

Water witches — also known as dowsers and diviners located the underground water. Then the well was dug with pick and shovel.

My uncle hand dug a well in Cochise County in the late 1920s- early 1930s. Today the water table is down 400 feet or more, no way to hand dig a well there now.

My favorite underground river is the Hassayampa in Arizona. There is a bridge in Wickenburg over the river that remains dry except during the monsoon floods. However, years ago the town put up a sign the say NO FISHING FROM THE BRIDGE that spans that dry river bed.

According to the legend, if you drink from the river’s waters, you will never tell the truth again. This curse is said to have been placed on the river by the Native American tribes who once inhabited the area. But you will have to get a drink far upstream from the bridge in Wickenburg.

The Hassayampa Legend by Andrew Downing

There’s a legend centuries old
By the early Spaniards told
Of a sparkling stream that “lies”
Under the Arizona skies
Hassayampa is its name
And the title of its fame
Is a wondrous quality
Known today from sea to sea
Those who drink it’s waters bright
Red man, white man, boor or Knight
Girls, or women, boys or men
Never tell the truth again!
Ed, did your uncle dig his well in the 1920 near a river, where there was a thick deposit of alluvial gravel? I doubt that he found soil more than 1/2" thick. And you can't dig through rock with a shovel and pick, unless it is broken rock, perhaps helped with TNT.
Ed said…
The well was not very far from White Water Creek which had a lot more water flow than it does now. The soil there was a layer of sand over one of caliche, a desert soil type of sedimentary rock that forms in arid or semi-arid regions, and then clay. The caliche required some serious pic work but that layer was not very thick.

My father and I dug an outhouse pit that was about 8 feet deep and the caliche was only a couple feet thick the best I remember.
So your digging succeeded because you were down in the flatlands of ranch country instead of up in the mountains where hard rocks start just a couple inches under the surface.
Anonymous said…
Love your video of the river - and the sound was wonderfully refreshing
Barb in FL said…
Beautiful scenery ~ enjoyed the video.
Thanks, Barb and Anonymous. But you know, I still can't see what there is to taking moving pictures of, when nature is pretty stationary.