Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Arizona Trivia Tuesday - Mountains and Deserts and Trees, Oh, My! (Part I - Mountains)

The highest point in Arizona is Humphrey's Peak, elevation 12,637 feet. It is 128th on Wikipedia's list of the 180 highest mountain peaks in the U.S. Humphrey's Peak is part of the San Francisco Peaks range, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona. The peaks were named after St. Francis of Assisi, not after the city of the same name.

Humphreys Peak was named after Brigadier General Andrew Atkinson Humprheys, a Civil War hero who led Union troops at Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and others. He later became the U.S. Chief of Engineers and directed the famous "Wheeler Surveys," the U.S. Geological Survey that explored and surveyed the Southwestern U.S. in the 1870's.*

The Arizona Snowbowl, which is Flagstaff's ski resort and not a college football game, lies on the Western slope of Humphrey's Peak. Yes, you can go skiing in Arizona!


Semi-interesting (for geography nuts, anyway) sidenote related to Humphrey's work with the U.S. Geological Survey: "Baseline Road" in the Phoenix metropolitan area is so named because it is sited along the "baseline" of the Gila and Salt River Baseline and Meridian.

What the heck is that, you ask? (Or maybe you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway).

The U.S. Public Land Survey System was established in 1785 to survey and parcel land so that portions of it could be released for sale to (or homesteading and eventual ownership by) private owners.

The surveying system was used to subdivide the land for sale to private owners in most of the United States, excluding the original thirteen colonies and a few other states in which the land already had been divided and sold before the survey system was established. The system selected points of origin for surveying land which would include both a true north-south meridian of longitude (called a "principal meridian") and a true east-west parallel of latitude (called a "baseline").

Baseline Road runs along the true east-west baseline that was established to serve as the basis for the land survey for most of Arizona. The entire Phoenix metropolitan area, and indeed most of Arizona, is laid out in a grid emanating from Baseline Road.

A part of Apache County in Arizona is laid out in a grid emanating from the Navajo Baseline and Meridian, which originates in New Mexico, and a very small portion of land near Yuma, Arizona (on the California/Arizona border) is measured from the San Bernardino Baseline and Meridian, in California.

Fascinating stuff, right?


SkylersDad said...

I think this is interesting, I love stuff like this!

Scope said...

I've been to the snow line on Humphrey's Peak in October. One frequently used Facebook profile picture show me juggling snowballs up there.

instant loan approval said...

The state of Arizona gave a lot of consideration which is nice.

LegalMist said...

SkyDad -- I'm happy to entertain. :)

Scope -- you can juggle? How totally cool. I've tried and I'm hopeless!