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Thread: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

  1. #71
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    And then, finally, there it was: the pinch point of French Portage Narrows:



    So, no need for wheels this time. I did wonder if anyone ever managed the crossing from one side to the other without falling in. There was a long plank on one dock that looked like it might be able to bridge the gap, but at 95 kg, I wouldn't have put much faith in it holding me, assuming I could even manage not to fall off.

    But I was through, and the rest of my journey to my friends' island should pose no unexpected obstacles or surprises from here.

    Tom
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  2. #72
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Light airs, fluky and shifting, all day long. Quite a change from the day before. By early evening, though, I reached the more open waters of The Tug Channel (used to be the main shortcut route for hauling rafts of timber, I think) and the wind came up at last for some real sailing:

    Day 6.4.jpg

    A nice way to end the day:

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  3. #73
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Here's a look at the entire day's progress--maybe 15-16 miles? Not really sure about that, but it seems close to correct.

    Day 6.6.jpg

    Some nice rocky terrain along the way:

    34.JPG

    Leading eventually to a lovely sandy-beach campsite:

    35.JPG
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  4. #74
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    With some relatively stand-offish neighbors:

    37.JPG

    And some other shoreside residents nearby:

    39.JPG

    Along with a comfy soft stretch of sand for a tent:

    36.JPG

    And a nice view from the front door:

    38.JPG
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  5. #75
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    The trip so far--4 days, perhaps 75 miles or so:

    Day 6.7.jpg

    A starry night, with a vivid Milky Way spreading across the sky. Just lovely. I went out for a long evening sail and got back to camp just before full dark. Barred owls in the woods. A mink on the shore. Just the kind of thing I'd been hoping for.
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  6. #76
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    You mention that your boat doesn't go to windward well. I realize that you want to keep things simple, but I wonder if a small jib might help that? Have you tried one?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #77
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    The next morning brought a good sailing breeze to begin--an auspicious start to the day that I thought might see me arriving at the island where my friends Don and Cindy would be waiting. If not, the next day for sure. Either way, it doesn't get much better than this as far as sailing goes--a fair wind strong enough for the second reef, and a course that promised a broad reach to a run all day long:



    After about 7 or 8 miles, I headed in to explore a broad indentation marked "Sandy Bay" on my chart:

    Day 7.1.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-06-2021 at 11:33 AM.
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  8. #78
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    You mention that your boat doesn't go to windward well. I realize that you want to keep things simple, but I wonder if a small jib might help that? Have you tried one?
    Jibs! Anathema!!!

    Seriously, I can't think of anything short of an outboard that I'd welcome aboard my boat less than I'd welcome a jib.

    And to quibble, I don't mean to say my boat doesn't go to windward decently (for what is, essentially, a narrow-beamed pulling boat). Where performance drops off is:

    1. Very light headwinds--but doesn't every boat suffer here to some degree? Usually I enjoy rowing more than I enjoy trying to ghost along on a beat that isn't getting me anywhere.

    2. Very strong headwinds, where the sea state can make it difficult to tack, or (even without waves) where the shorter luff of the double or triple-reefed sail doesn't generate as much lift as needed--in essence, the already relatively low aspect ratio of the sail's shape gets lower with every reef you tie in. I can go to windward with a single reef, no problem. Double reef, yes--and it's certainly less work than rowing into a headwind strong enough to require a double reef.

    But no matter the wind speed, rowing directly upwind is always going to be the fastest way to cover ground to windward in this boat. I suspect that it would also be faster than almost every other boat of a similar size who tries to tack instead of row.

    So, no jibs in my future. Remember, the motto is "PIGRITIA IUGIS"...

    Tom
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  9. #79
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    As it turns out, Sandy Bay was not mis-named:

    40.JPG

    I enjoyed a nice long swim here--maybe 2 miles, pleasantly cool water. A good way to take a break from the relatively immobile hours spent aboard while sailing. A fishing boat motored in at some point, which I took as my cue to head out for the next leg of the trip.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-06-2021 at 11:43 AM.
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  10. #80
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Whatever floats your boat! Jibs do help a boat point higher though - but I'll shut up about them - except to say that they are quieter than outboards...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #81
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Whatever floats your boat! Jibs do help a boat point higher though - but I'll shut up about them - except to say that they are quieter than outboards...
    Oh, no argument from me on that. It's a purely personal bias on my part--but one formed by long experience, and based on the practicalities of sail and oar cruising to a great degree, and not simply obstinate rejection for the sake of ideology. I've sailed boats with jibs in the past, and I know a bit about what they can do to windward. That just isn't a significant priority for my kind of sailing, where I often have the luxury of planning my route to take advantage of favorable winds.

    Sometimes that means I have to row to windward, or anchor a while to let the wind die down. I suspect I'd do the same even if I had a jib.

    With this particular rig, I don't know that you'd get adequate luff tension on a jib anyway. I think the consensus is that a spritsail can effectively take a jib because the sprit tensions the luff--but that it's less effective on a lug rig without stays to induce luff tension. And I for sure KNOW that I don't want a stayed rig!

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    And so, after a long day of strong following winds, I arrived... well, I'll just end the day's track here to preserve a bit of privacy about the location of my friends' island cabin--it's within a few miles of the end of the red line (along with about a thousand other islands, so I figure this will keep them safe):

    Day 7.2.jpg

    They were out on their dock fishing, I think, so they spotted me coming a ways off. There was also a bit of a sandy beach, so I just ran the boat right up onto the sand, letting the sheet fly 10 yards out and coasting to a stop on dry land. After a good bit of welcoming and catching up--I had taught at the same school in the Marshall Islands with Don and Cindy for a couple of years--we went out for an evening circumnavigation of their island under sail.

    We got back and I anchored just off their beach for the night.

    42.JPG

    Accommodations were a little more... accommodating?... than those I had enjoyed for the previous week. I had this entire cabin to myself for the next few days as it turned out:

    41.JPG

    A good time catching up with good friends, and spending some time ashore--and some time indoors eating some real cooked food, playing some games, talking about goings-on in the Marshall Islands, hanging out, and reading some good books.
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  13. #83
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    This has become my goto read with my morning cup of tea.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    I'm glad you're enjoying it--sadly, not much left now. Eventually, it was time to finish the trip and head back to the car and trailer for the long drive home. My friends snapped a few photos from the dock at departure:

    45.JPG

    A rare chance to get some sailing photos on a solo trip!

    43.JPG

    And one more--you can see the $.59 autopilot is handling the steering duties:

    44.JPG
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-06-2021 at 05:20 PM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    By evening--despite getting a bit misplaced somewhere on the last leg of the journey--I had made it back to Morson:

    46.JPG

    And a last look back at the whole journey--about 100 miles spread over 6 days of sailing, plus a few days with my friends before closing the loop back at Morson:

    Day 8.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-06-2021 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    And that's it--until those pesky Canadians open the border so I can visit my friends again, and maybe check out some of the area north of the Aulneau for a change.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Cheers,

    Tom
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  17. #87
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Thank you, I even learnt a few things.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Fantastic story. Thanks, Tom, for the chance to travel along.

    James

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Just got word that I can get my boat out of storage in two weeks! Time to start looking at charts and thinking about destinations.

    One small mod I'll be testing out this year--I finally succumbed to all the propaganda and got one of these:

    322-mast_traveller.jpg

    I'm not convinced it will make my life spectacularly better, but I was under pressure to "suggest" something that might serve as a Christmas present.

    I won't use leather--I'll use some kind of line wrapping instead.

    Not sure I'll need to fuss with anything else, as the boat had a bit of a 3-year sprucing-up last spring. I can probably just load up and go. Somewhere... Not sure at all that Canada will be a realistic hope by summer, but we'll see.

    Where else will people be sailing this summer? Anyone got plans?
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  21. #91
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    D47BAC82-5807-4B6B-B08E-6D59567C54FB.jpg
    String like this?

    Man, if I get to be in a boat on the water at all this year, Iíll be happy. Between the pandemic and fires, I ainít been near water for a minute.

  22. #92
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I won't use leather--I'll use some kind of line wrapping instead.
    One of the many things I love about my new bike commute is the time I am now afforded to ponder. Free of radio, podcasts, and the frustrations of traffic, I am stimulated by the cold fluid air in my lungs and the sight of the world slowly coming awake, fresh and new. I started a new book last night and felt sure that I'd muse happily on its opening lines for the whole ride in.
    "Of the things we fashioned for them that they might be comforted, dawn is the one that works. When darkness sifts from the air like fine soft soot and light spreads slowly out of the east then all but the most wretched of humankind rally."

    But it was not to be! Instead, this lodged somewhere deep in my brain
    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I won't use leather--I'll use some kind of line wrapping instead.
    Which is of course your choice, and a perfectly good one. Really there is no need to explain. But I couldn't let it go and so turned it over until coming up with the following possibilities:

    1) Veganism
    2) Parsimony - no leather at hand
    3) Perceived thrift
    4) Cross-grained contrarianism
    5) Large personal investment in the small-boat-line-producing industrial complex
    6) Unethical journalistic capture (of you) by the aforementioned small-boat-line-producing industrial complex. Who knows what these shadowy companies might exchange for a lucrative favorable review?
    7) Conversion to strict Hinduism


    Personally, I very much enjoy leather work. It's one of the skills I have picked up through boatbuilding that has served me well elsewhere. Tooling is minimal and professional-quality results are quick to obtain.


    Although as I am about to post, I see Rob's traveler. That is an argument in itself! Nice work there. What's the term for that kind of line work? Serving? Macrame?

  23. #93
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    D47BAC82-5807-4B6B-B08E-6D59567C54FB.jpg
    String like this?

    Man, if I get to be in a boat on the water at all this year, I’ll be happy. Between the pandemic and fires, I ain’t been near water for a minute.
    Oh, yeah! Just like that (except probably no Turks Head knots or anything fancy--a simple cockscomb of half hitches seems like a likelier outcome on my boat).

    What is your ring/shackle? Looks like shop-made rather than storebought?

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    Which is of course your choice, and a perfectly good one. Really there is no need to explain. But I couldn't let it go and so turned it over until coming up with the following possibilities:

    1) Veganism
    2) Parsimony - no leather at hand
    3) Perceived thrift
    4) Cross-grained contrarianism
    5) Large personal investment in the small-boat-line-producing industrial complex
    6) Unethical journalistic capture (of you) by the aforementioned small-boat-line-producing industrial complex. Who knows what these shadowy companies might exchange for a lucrative favorable review?
    7) Conversion to strict Hinduism
    #2 is the correct response (although I'd argue the real reason is not parsimony, but simple sloth--I have plenty of line on hand), but #4 is never out of the question with me, either. I'd certainly be willing to give #6 a shot if the aforementioned small-boat-line-producing industrial complex were interested in making me an offer I can't refuse.

    Only marginally relevant, but I once told a fellow teacher "I generally make a 6-figure income from my freelance writing every year" and watched his eyes widen. Just before he had time to ask me why in the world I was still teaching, I added "But at least 2 of those figures always end up on the right-hand side of the decimal point." I think he was quite relieved to hear he hadn't been working with a secret bazillionaire.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-12-2021 at 12:43 PM.
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  25. #95
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    One of the many things I love about my new bike commute is the time I am now afforded to ponder. Free of radio, podcasts, and the frustrations of traffic, I am stimulated by the cold fluid air in my lungs and the sight of the world slowly coming awake, fresh and new. I started a new book last night and felt sure that I'd muse happily on its opening lines for the whole ride in.

    "Of the things we fashioned for them that they might be comforted, dawn is the one that works. When darkness sifts from the air like fine soft soot and light spreads slowly out of the east then all but the most wretched of humankind rally."
    I know EXACTLY what you mean about bike commuting. My new bike (a wonderful belt-drive commuter with Ortlieb panniers) arrives next week!

    Also, those opening lines are sure compelling--what's the book?

    Although, that fine soot sifting from the air is generally a sign of low air pressure (and thus bad weather), so maybe not quite as propitious as it might seem.

    (I only know about the implications of falling soot because I recently picked up a copy of Eric Sloane's Weather Book, a marvelous collection of low-tech methods of understanding and predicting weather--well worth a look for the anti-electronics-minded small boat sailor).

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Oh, yeah! Just like that (except probably no Turks Head knots or anything fancy--a simple cockscomb of half hitches seems like a likelier outcome on my boat).

    What is your ring/shackle? Looks like shop-made rather than storebought?

    Tom
    Made. Itís a screw link deal, with the barrel screwed tight and pinned into the wee strap there. The turksheads are over rivets that hold the loop together and pin the link on.

    I think the traveler thing is nice. I donít usually do any kind of sailing where reefing, or even sail handling other than sheeting, is an issue, so I donít really NEED one.

    I DO have a problem sitting still, though...

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Made. It’s a screw link deal, with the barrel screwed tight and pinned into the wee strap there. The turksheads are over rivets that hold the loop together and pin the link on.

    I think the traveler thing is nice. I don’t usually do any kind of sailing where reefing, or even sail handling other than sheeting, is an issue, so I don’t really NEED one.

    I DO have a problem sitting still, though...
    Hmm... I don't seem to have that problem (Pigritia Iugis!) Comes in handy for long days on a small boat with a workable self-steering system.

    A last post for today (maybe)--a question, really. You don't have to spend much time looking at charts to notice a characteristic shape to many of the islands on Lake of the Woods--two islands joined together by a low spit of land. Check out these Google Earth images:

    tombolos.jpg

    And:

    tombolos2.jpg

    Is there a geologist in the house? What's up with that?

    Tom
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  28. #98
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    The thing about leather is that it takes tallow well for lubricant. Your line wrapping may be slippery enough.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Hmm... I don't seem to have that problem (Pigritia Iugis!) Comes in handy for long days on a small boat with a workable self-steering system.

    A last post for today (maybe)--a question, really. You don't have to spend much time looking at charts to notice a characteristic shape to many of the islands on Lake of the Woods--two islands joined together by a low spit of land. Check out these Google Earth images:

    tombolos.jpg

    And:

    tombolos2.jpg

    Is there a geologist in the house? What's up with that?

    Tom
    I don't know what's up with that, and I wonder what's up with the apparent circular pattern centered a bit north of west of the launch point. It looks as if a glacier rotated around a point in that area, which seems really improbable.


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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Of the things we fashioned for them that they might be comforted, dawn is the one that works. When darkness sifts from the air like fine soft soot and light spreads slowly out of the east then all but the most wretched of humankind rally."
    Okay, which book?
    I like it.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Okay, which book?
    I like it.
    Looks like "The Infinities" by John Banville.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by nrs5000 View Post
    I don't know what's up with that, and I wonder what's up with the apparent circular pattern centered a bit north of west of the launch point. It looks as if a glacier rotated around a point in that area, which seems really improbable.

    Well, I've seen that kind of circular pattern is common in the North Channel (Canadian side of Lake Huron) as well:

    circles.jpg

    I suppose the "circles" may just be tight hairpin curves down which a glacier flowed? Certainly the flow lines are easy to spot throughout Canadian Shield terrain, with parallel grooves ground into the bedrock.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 03-13-2021 at 08:22 AM.
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  33. #103
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Well, I've seen that kind of circular pattern is common in the North Channel (Canadian side of Lake Huron) as well:

    circles.jpg

    I suppose the "circles" may just be tight hairpin curves down which a glacier flowed? Certainly the flow lines are easy to spot throughout Canadian Shield terrain, with parallel grooves ground into the bedrock.
    Given that much of the Canadian Shield is Precambrian igneous rock, some of the oldest on the planet, from what I recall when I lived and canoed there lo these many years ago, I'd hazard a guess that the circular formations might be tops of upwelling magma plumes that subsequently cooled, hardened and then had their tops ground off by glacial action.

    Alternatively they might be the remains of meteor craters + ejecta that have been worn down by glaciers. Certainly there are enough of them in the Shield. The reason for the rich veins of nickel that supported the mines around Sudbury Ontario for so long is the third-largest impact crater on the planet, known as the Sudbury Basin.

    But, I'm not a geologist would be happy to be corrected by someone who actually knows.
    Alex

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Given that much of the Canadian Shield is Precambrian igneous rock, some of the oldest on the planet, from what I recall when I lived and canoed there lo these many years ago, I'd hazard a guess that the circular formations might be tops of upwelling magma plumes that subsequently cooled, hardened and then had their tops ground off by glacial action.

    Alternatively they might be the remains of meteor craters + ejecta that have been worn down by glaciers. Certainly there are enough of them in the Shield. The reason for the rich veins of nickel that supported the mines around Sudbury Ontario for so long is the third-largest impact crater on the planet, known as the Sudbury Basin.

    But, I'm not a geologist would be happy to be corrected by someone who actually knows.
    That did cross my mind, but would mean there were a few impacts. The rock itself would show evidence of fragmentation I think...I'm no geologist.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on Lake of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    That did cross my mind, but would mean there were a few impacts. The rock itself would show evidence of fragmentation I think...I'm no geologist.
    I know there have been a bunch of impacts but I went looking and found this wikipedia-related site that maps known impact craters in North America. The formations we are talking about in Lake of the Woods don't seem to be among them, so that theory is likely out.

    https://osm4wiki.toolforge.org/cgi-b..._North_America

    Screenshot_2021-03-14 OpenStreetMap for Wikipedia - Wikipedia article List_of_impact_craters_in_.jpg
    Alex

    ďA man in an open shirt, sat gazing out to sea; A young man, a hale man, and I wished that I were he and that the things that I loved were as they used to beĒ
    - Geoffrey Holdsworth

    http://www.alexzimmerman.ca

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