Thursday, September 10, 2009

Colliding Rivers

Colliding Rivers

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Today's expedition through the mini-roadtrip archives takes us south again. This time we're near the small town of Glide, Oregon, visiting the (somewhat) famous Colliding Rivers -- where the North Umpqua and Little River meet head on. Wikipedia and various other sources claim this is the only place in the world where this happens. That's quite an expansive claim, and I'm not sure I buy it, but at the very least it's an unusual situation.

Colliding Rivers

I didn't post the photos earlier because I thought I hadn't captured the place very well. A name like "Colliding Rivers" suggests a violent clash, whitewater spraying everywhere, bewildered salmon leaping in all directions trying to figure out which way is upstream, etc. Instead, I had photos of two rivers gently flowing together at a somewhat unusual angle.

After consulting the interwebs and realizing that everyone else's photos of the place looked just like mine, I figured mine were postable after all. I'm told the collision gets more rambunctious in the winter and spring when there's more water, but people mostly visit in the summer, and I haven't yet run across a photo of what it looks like at other times of the year.

Colliding Rivers

The best photo I've found of the place, actually, comes from the website for the Umpqua National Forest. Their photo gallery page links to a great (but huge) panoramic photo of the area. It does kind of make sense that if two rivers meet head on, you'll want either a lens that captures close to a 180 degree angle, or you'll want to take multiple photos and stitch them together. My little digicam at the time I took these did have a photostitch mode, but using it didn't occur to me at the time. So consider this a note for future reference.

For another angle on the place, here's someone's aerial photo, which makes it a bit more clear what's going on here.

If you want an even closer view, Douglas County has a public boat ramp just downstream.

Also, here's a nice Medford Mail-Tribune article about the place.

One thing I don't have a photo of is the visitors information center. I was unaware of this, but apparently it's a historic building constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps back during the depression.

Colliding Rivers

Believe it or not, the Colliding Rivers play a supporting role in an idiotic New Age belief. As the, ah, hypothesis goes, the earth is going to bump into something called a "photon belt" in 2011 or so, and a variety of uncanny events, both apocalyptic and wonderful, will occur. This is described in a book titled Touched by the Dragon's Breath: Conversations at Colliding Rivers. Amazon's blurb for the book is an impressive piece of brain-melting word salad:

Touched by the Dragon's Breath is based on actual conversations that took place between the author and his mentor, John Redstone, splashed against the backdrop of Colliding Rivers in Southern Oregon. These weekly discussions, spanning more than three years, explain in detail the significance of 2012, the Photon Belt, Zero Point, the light wave of creation, and the 50-year Time/Space Overlap Zone between the Piscean Age and the Age of Aquarius. In two related conversations about the Seedbed and the Mirror of Life, John Redstone reveals his step by step approach to cleaning up the Belief System, a key element in preparing for the global frequency shift commonly called the Shift of the Ages that will usher in a new Golden Age. In a separate chapter highlighting prophecies from the Hopi, Maya, Aztec, and Tibetan cultures, the author substantiates many of Mr. Redstone s views on 2012 and the Photon Belt, a spectacular band of multi-dimensional light, secretly known to some as the Dragon s Breath. The author also provides valuable, little-known information about water, as well as personal glimpses into his own spiritual journey; most notably, a quest that began over 70,000 years ago in the ancient land of Lemuria.

Uhh... alrighty then. I mean, I'm not arguing this is more idiotic than some of the notions Christian fundies come up with, and at least New Agers tend to be nonviolent when they get wacky about stuff. And at least it tends to be affluent and (supposedly) educated gullible people getting ripped off this way, plus I'm not aware of them wanting the government to impose their ideas on anybody -- no mandatory crystal-gazing in the schools or anything like that. But still, the human capacity to believe complete barking-at-the-moon gibberish never ceases to amaze me, and not in a good way. If the blurb's any indication, the stuff's not even written very well. If I put my mind to it, I'm sure I could churn out New Age crap of vastly higher quality than what's out there at present.

I think I've said this before, but every now and then I'm tempted to chuck it all and run off and start a New Age cult. If only there was a way to make these people give me all their money without having to actually meet or interact with them. I'd still probably feel guilty about the whole thing, and I wouldn't enjoy being mocked by skeptics (and I'd agree with them, secretly, and I'd soon come to loathe my followers). But still, it's basically free money without having to produce anything of value. As I said, it's a tempting idea now and then.

Colliding Rivers

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