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Where Waters Meet

A cache by Ottawa Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 09/09/2009
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

It is available year round, with an inside waypoint that can be used when the Forest Visitor Center is open, and an outside waypoint that can be used when the Visitor Center is closed, and a third waypoint to help answer the question. There is no charge. The third waypoint is questionable for wheel chair access.

Welcome to the Ottawa National Forest’s first EarthCache!

The other two waypoints associated with this EarthCache are:

Inside Visitor Center (if open)
N46 degrees 15.726 minutes
W89 degrees 10.639 minutes

To answer the second question, go to the following site
N46 degrees 16.486 minutes
W89 degrees 10.576 minutes

The Ottawa National Forest has a continental divide separating three major watersheds. Each river of the Ottawa flows out of the Forest in one of three directions as part of this rare watershed divide. This means people from St. Louis to New York and up though Canada drink our clean fresh water.

A long time ago an ice sheet one mile high covered this area. Then about 14,000 years ago the Wisconsin Glacier started to melt and retreat north. It carved the land as it left, creating the waterfalls, plains, and triple watershed of the Ottawa National Forest.

A watershed is the area of land that drains all the steams, rivers, and rainfall to a common outlet. Watersheds are divided by ridges or hills called drainage divides. Because water always flows downhill, rivers and streams will continue to merge together creating a larger watershed. A watershed can be very large scale or very small in size. The watershed of a small stream will be nested inside the watershed of a larger stream that the small stream flows into. A watershed is shown in the diagram below, from the US Environmental Protection Agency website:

A raindrop landing on the opposite side of the ridge would fall in a different watershed than one landing on the near side of the ridge. The journey that the raindrop takes may lead it to the same body of water as another raindrop that falls within the same watershed. Remember that water flows downhill, but this may be to the north, south, east or west.

The raindrops that fall into a watershed may flow over the land as runoff and into a stream, then meet up with a river, and flow into a lake. At that point the raindrop may be evaporated into the atmosphere, later to return as rain again. This cycle is referred to as the water cycle.

The Ottawa National Forest falls into three major watersheds. More information is given about these watersheds at either the inside or outside waypoints. You can also find out how the town got its name.

To log this cache:
1) List the three water bodies in which a raindrop falling on the Ottawa NF could eventually land.

2) Go to the third waypoint and determine which direction this river flows, and which of the three watersheds this river flows into.

Links for more information:

We all live in a watershed! Learn which one is your watershed by using your zip code at this Environmental Protection Agency website:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm

Read more about watersheds and see animated diagrams of the water cycle at this website sponsored by Michigan Technological University:
http://techalive.mtu.edu/meec/module01/Thehydrologiccycle.htm

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