Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Colony: Geographic Features

January 23, 2008, Index Update

I've transcribed most of my notes on geographical features and have them listed here. I still have a few details to add to round out the major geographical locations. However, this index will continue to expand when the supplemental stories are being written. Also, I'm going to try and get a map posted on Flickr, I'll probably have to divide it into sections because I drew it off on 11x17 paper and there is a lot of detail in it.

I haven't posted a map of The Colony yet, but I hope to have one up soon. For a point of reference, The Colony lies in a valley 12,000 miles north to south and 600 miles at the widest point. It is surrounded by two mountain ranges on the east and west and has a 450 mile lake east to west and 400 miles north to south at it's widest point, the easternmost shores. The lake forms a rough triangle with the point being on the eastern shore.

This geographical reference is written with the lake, the Hennashores, being the central geographical feature. All other geographical features will be described in relation to the Hennashores. I've divided Geographic Features into two sections, Settlements and Geographic Features.

(Initial Note: The early Seek explorers often named plants and animals after similar species on earth. Those early names stuck and are used in most references in The Colony stories and reference works. As later expeditions arrived, scientists reclassified the species by genus and species names for the new species. ...

I'm also working on a detailed timeline for The Colony. The initial Expedition's arrival is defined as C0. The 10th and final Expedition arrives in C500, when The Colony stories begin. An Expedition arrives every 50 years. Pax is born in the year C470.)

(Additional note: The transportation infrastructure,, roads and railways, etc.

Because this is an ongoing reference work for The Colony, any references not added to the index yet will be highlighted in red. Any unnamed features will be referred to by a common name (i.e. glacier, river, lake, road, etc.) and highlighted in blue.

Geographic Features:

Barren Path, The: An infrequently maintained dirt road on the south Hennashores coast connecting Overlook Narrows Research Center to Plantation Point, a small farming settlement, and the main road system. There is no record of a project to build this road in the Seek Annals. It was most likely constructed by Bands of Seek exploring the area. The road is seldom traveled on foot or by transportation. The research center is primarily supported by ship or skiff. The road was once well traveled, but with the arrival of the Seventh Expedition and it's cargo of additional small skiffs, the road became largely unnecessary. The Seek surveys and repairs the road every five years because the Hounding Champaign is a popular destination for hunters who usually base their camps around the research center. Most of them arrive in Plantation Point by ship or skiff and take vehicles to the research center because the Seek doesn't allow civilian skiffs to land at research centers , except in emergencies.

Billowing Cordillera, The: This is a vast mountain range on the west of the valley The Colony lies in. The majority of the mountains rise above 28,000 feet, are extremely steep and treacherous to travel. Photos made by the First Expedition from orbit show vast plains and forests on the other side of the Cordillera. Pax has searched for a pass for years and at least seven other bands of Seek based in Westershore launch regular expeditions to find a pass. A pass through the mountains is needed because the skiffs currently employed by The Colony have a ceiling of 12,000 feet. The Expedition Transports are landing-only vehicles. Once on the ground the transports are recycled.

Bitter March, The: The Bitter March is a 300 mile unpaved road running along the Biting Cascade. It connects Hollowgrove to the Bloodstrand Pike. It was named the Bitter March because construction was started in winter C236. A crew in Hollowgrove began working southward and a second crew began working northward from the Bloodstrand Pike. They worked through an exceptionally harsh winter and completed the 300 mile road in the late fall, meeting in the middle. The road is looked upon as a monumental error for the Seek. Building a road from the Bloodstrand Pike on the north shore of the Shallowbight would have been far more efficient, shortening the travel distance from 900 miles to 250, and required far less work. However, at the time the decision was made to build the road, the land between Hollowgrove and Landfall Commons was largely unexplored. Exploration efforts had been focused toward the south and west and not the north. Completion of the monorail between Landfall Commons and Hollowgrove in C258 made the Bitter March obsolete. In C500 the Seek no longer maintains the road. However, some scattered farmers along the road keep portions of it in good condition.

Biting Cascade, The: The Biting Cascade is 320 miles of rapids that feeds the Hennashores from the north. It is formed by the confluence of the Distant Course from the west and the Frigid Run from the northeast. The water is exceptionally cold and extremely difficult to traverse. Farming communities along the river use the fast current to generate electricity through small turbine stations.

Bloodstrand Pike: This is a 600 mile road running along the north coast of the Hennashores. It connects Landfall Commons with the Pyre Thickets Research Center in the Brackenwood. The majority of the road is gravel and passes through dozens of farms and Cabbot's Landing on the opposite shore of the Shallowbight from Landfall Commons and Winterhaven on the edge of the Brackenwood. Seek passing along its path named it Bloodstrand Pike because the road was on the cost of a lake turned red by algae in the summer. Construction began in C0 and was completed in C9. Three arched bridges span the delta of the Biting Cascade to reach Winterhaven.

Crystal Peak: This peak was named by Adrian Hemmler's expedition in 218 because it was the only snowcapped peak during the summer in that part of the Billowing Cordillera. This section of the Cordilleras only reach about 12,000 feet on average. The mountain is on the western shore of Hemmler's Cove and the Tibari Gate flows along its south slope. The Crystal Pinnacle Resort is located 7500 feet up the 12,000 foot mountain. The resort is connected to Westershore by a two-car gondola system that can carry 10 passengers per car.

Crystal Pinnacle: This is a mountain fishing and skiing resort Pax established to support Westershore. Pax and Madelyn began initial development in C490. It was during the course of this project that Pax decided to entrust Madelyn to guide the settlement of Westershore. While Madelyn was working at Westershore, Pax was overseeing the Crystal Pinnacle project. The resort is reachable by small skiff or gondola lift from Westershore. It rests 7,500 feet up Crystal Peak and is an earthship style resort with 150 guest rooms, gift shops, two four-star restaurants, a nightclub, ski shops and fishing outfitters. The resort lies on the western shores of a 450-acre lake, Placid Heights. The majority of the resort's staff live in small cabins near the lodge. The resort is incorporated, but Pax controls 51 percent of the stock. Madelyn owns 5 percent and the resort's employees control about 3 percent of the stock. Most of the money used to build the resort was from sale of land in the Wisp Mire and from his interests in alligator, bivalve and swamp deer farming in Westershore. Pax laid claim to the entire mountain through Seek exploration rewards and has only opened up a very small portion of it to settlement. Currently, only empolyes of the resort can purchase property on the mountain. During winter the resort focuses on the skiing industry. It has seven slopes as well as a snowboard park. The remainder of the year, tourists are attracted to the 450 acre lake for swimming and fishing. It is the destination for the rich and famous of The Colony, which is the major reason C! Television established a bureau in Westershore.

Dismal Run, The: A river running through the Fractured Dismals. A large island splits the river and the southern fork is called the Southfork Floe. The river rejoins to feed the Turbulent Fury.

Distant Course, The: Distant Course is formed by the confluence of River1 and River2 in the Billowing Cordillera. It flows through the middle of the Sierra Hackles and joins with the Frigid Run to form the Biting Cascade. It's a relatively flat, slow flowing river approximately 1/2 mile wide. It is easily passable upstream and downstream. Pax attempted to find a passage through the Billowing Cordillera in C488 by following the Distant Course and River1, but was unable to find a way through the Cordillera at its source.

Fractured Dismals: A low mountain range bordering the south of the plateau the Sierra Hackles rest on. The mountains are extremely rocky and very little vegetation grows there. It runs along the north edge of the Pyre Thickets and Brackenwood. A river runs through the central portion of the Dismals. The Dismal Run splits into a Southfork and rejoins 120 miles later to feed The Turbulent Fury. Pax explored The Dismal Run and northern part of the range in C481-482. Madelyn explored the Southfork as part of her explorations of the Sierra Hackles in C495.

Hemmler's Cove: Adrian Hemmler was the captain of the Coronado and a charge of Hadrian Simmons. Her mission was to map the coastline of the Hennashores. Her expedition launched from Fringefield in C217 and sailed to the Overwatch Narrows Research Center. She mapped the the coast in a counter-clockwise motion from there back to Landfall Commons. Her expedition wasn't equipped to explore the marshlands of the Tangled Narrows and the Wisp Mire, so she left them unexplored. The expedition moved quickly until it passed the bogs and there was solid ground to explore in a cove buffeted by a southern swamp and northern mountains. Her crew realized they had reached the westernmost reach of the Hennashores, they named it Hemmler's Cove. In the next 20 months, she went on to name Rogue's Point, Pilferer's Sound and the Shallowbight and explore 75-100 miles inland along the coast. The Coronado resupplied in the early winter of 219 in Landfall Commons. The maps her expedition made were instrumental in the Seek's Exploration plans for the next 100 years. The maps gave Pax reference points for exploring the marshlands she could not map and all other Seek ignored. She set sail for the Balefire Refuge after resupplying, but the Coronado was lost in a storm two days later. No survivors were ever found. Seek Bands have launched countless expeditions to find the vessel, but no trace of it has ever been found.

Hennashores: The Hennashores are a massive lake on the southern end of the valley. The name is derived from the rust-colored algae that flourish in the summer months, turning the entire lake a deep red color. The lake is 450 miles east to west and 400 miles north to south at it's widest point, the easternmost shores. The average depth is about 325 feet. The lake forms a rough triangle with the point being on the western shore.The lake is fed from the north by the Biting Cascade and drains in the south through The Tangled Narrows. The westernmost shore is feed by a river, the Tibari Gate. The lake is believed to be formed by a massive volcanic eruption. That supposition is supported by the existence of the Balefire Refuge. However, there has been no scientific inquiry conducted. That responsibility lies with the scientists on the 10th Expedition.

Hounding Champaign, The: The Hounding Champaign is a vast plain south of the Hennashores. Scattered stands of trees dot the plains that are heavily populated by grazing animals and predators. It also is home to countless covies of gamebirds. The early Seek used hounds brought from Earth as bird dogs to flush out the birds. So it became known as The Hounding Champaign.

Hundred Bridge Road: This 200-mile road connects Fringefield to Plantation Point and runs along the south shore of the Hennashores. Originally it was called the Field Road. As the Seek began to dig irrigation canals in C102 it became called the Bridge Road. The Seek dug canals every two miles for the length of the road. When the canal projects were complete in C122 100 bridges had been built over the canals. Shortly after, the name was changed to Hundred Bridge Road. In C500, some of the canals have been extended to nearly 250 miles into the Hounding Champaign by farmers. Many canals have been interconnected to allow for faster travel in small boats.

Pilferer's Sound: This is an extremely deep bay on the northwestern banks of the Hennashores. Adrian Hemmler named it Pilferer's Sound in 218 because her sailors fishing off deck kept losing their bait. During Pax' expedition into the Fractured Dismals he spent some time exploring Pilferer's Sound and discovered that it was a fertile ground for a crustacean similar to crabs. This bay is the winter destination of Westershore's crab fishing fleet.

Pointless Rush, The: This river is formed by the confluence of the waters of the Tangled Narrows. Once the river reaches the softer soil of the Hounding Champaign is begins cutting a deep canyon along the fringes of the Billowing Cordillera. The Rush is a series of Class 5 rapids and is almost impassable. The walls of Shivers Canyon are 1500 feet high.

Roddermarsh: The bayous of the Wisp Mire bordering on Hemmler's Cove. Pax mapped and explored the bayous in C479 and C480. Pax and his mentor, Alexander Gray, built a cabin on the northern edge of the bayou in C479. The cabin is part of the Westershore National Park.

Rogue's Beacon: This lighthouse is maintained by the incorporated town of Westershore. It was built to allow for safer navigation in the rough waters around the point. The construction began in C492 and was completed in C494 as part of Madelyn's development of Westershore.

Rogue's Point: The southern point on the west shore of Pilferer's Sound.

Shallowbight: The Shallowbight is a large bay on the northeastern end of the Hennashores. The water depth is about 35 feet on average. The name stems from the fact that the water in the bay is much shallower than anywhere else in the Hennashores. Landfall Commons is built on the shores of the Shallowbight.

Shimmerwood National Park: This is a 20,000 square mile stand of wild Shimmerwood plants. It became a national forest in C238 and The Colony's second national park in C287. The Shimmerwood Research Center is located on the Frigid Run that lies on the edge of the park. The park's center is based in a 4-story earthship style hotel built into the side of an 80 foot hill in the forest. The hotel is named the Shimmerwood National Park Hotel and Visitor's Center. The first floor of the hotel contains the visitor's center, two conference rooms, three restaurants, the Seek park guild hall, tour agencies and a variety of gift and souvenir shops. The second through fourth floors consists of 250 motel rooms. The hotel overlooks 75 miles of the Shimmerwood to the south. Construction on the hotel began in 284 and was completed in C286. There are more than 300 miles of walking trails through the Shimmerwood that begin at the hotel. No overnight camping is allowed in the park without a Seek permit. The national park is also a no fly zone. No skiff over-flights of the park are allowed.

Shimmerwood Pike: This road was built in C283 to provide access to the construction site for the Shimmerwood National Park Hotel and Visitor's Center. It is a paved road with no public access. Visitors to the national park must take shuttles that depart from Hollowgrove every 90 minutes from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.

Shimmering Road: This road was built in C243 to allow for construction of the Shimmerwood Research Center. The road is paved but public access is not allowed. Private shuttles allow access to the center for scientists and Seek. The center is primarily supplied by cargo truck. The center has a skyport that is seldom used because of the no-fly restrictions in place over Shimmerwood National Park.

Shivers Canyon: This is a 1500 foot deep canyon in the Hounding Champaign running along the base of the Billowing Cordillera. The canyon was formed by the Pointless Rush, a series of class 5 rapids that drain the Hennashores in the south. The canyon was aptly named because the walls are so steep very little sunlight reaches the bottom. The waters are extremely cold and the temperature at the bottom of the canyon is always in the 40 degree range. The river eventually cuts through the Billowing Cordillera and into the south. The fact the river cuts through the seemingly impassable mountain range is a mystery. Current theory is that the river runs along a fault line where two colliding plates form the Cordillera's. Because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of this occurrence, it's unlikely a scientific expedition will be launched.

Southfork Floe: The southern fork of the Dismal Run. It rejoins the Dismal Run to feed the Turbulent Fury.

Sierra Hackles: The Sierra Hackles are a haunting place. There are thousands of 1000-2500-foot and lava plugs that run along the edge of the Billowing Cordillera from just north of Pilferer's Sound to nearly 600 miles northward. The bases of the volcanic pillars are littered with boulders and loose stone. It is hypothesized that this was once a large plateau with heavy volcanic activity. And that over time the volcanic activity ceased for some reason and wind and water erosion removed the softer rocks and soil. It is an extremely inhospitable place with very little animal and plant life. Madelyn Nakamura is the only Seek to extensively explore any portion of the Sierra Hackles. Her hauntingly beautiful photographs and researched documentaries of the Sierra Hackles and its unique wildlife have earned her great credibility among the Seek. Her beauty and charm have also made her a very popular personality with C! Television producers. C! Television plans to air an on-location documentary of her explorations in early C501. The documentary was filmed during the summer of C500 and is in post production at the Westershore bureau. The Seek has charged her with leading a geographical team consisting of scientists from the 10th Expedition to the Sierra Hackles in the spring of C501. C! Television will document the expedition.

Tangled Narrows: This is a complex delta that drains the Hennashore in the south. Pax extensively mapped the Narrows and catalogued the wildlife in the delta during the late summer and fall of C483. His discoveries opened up the delta to more extensive research. The Overwatch Narrows research center was created as a farming and animal domestication research outpost, so little exploration into the Narrows was ever made by the center. The center did however, make heavy contributions to the fishing industry through research on the Hennashores.

Tibari Gate: This river was originally named Hemmler's Terminus, but was renamed after Pax' first attempt to find a pass through the Billowing Cordillera in C484. The history of the Tibari Gate and Tibari Safehold will be told in Jha'Kel's Travels.

Tibari Safehold: A unique forest that borders the Tibari Gate. The history of the Tibari Gate and Tibari Safehold will be told in Jha'Kel's Travels.

Tradegrounds: A small valley on the western edge of the Tibari Gate at the base of The Billowing Cordillera.

Turbulent Fury: This 250-foot waterfall feeds Pilferer's Sound from the Dismal Run flowing through the Fractured Dismals. It was named by William Masters, a 13-year-old charge of Adrian Hemmler. He told her "There is no name that can describe the turbulent fury of those waters." When Hemmler's expedition reached Landfall Commons in C219, Master's was charged with archiving the ship's log at the Seek Guild Hall. He was the only person on Hemmler's expedition to survive the year.

Whispering Grove: This forest of Shimmerwood plants was a wild stand until C40. Jonathan Cardwell's Band of Seek began to experiment with cultivating the plants. Since that time the plants have been genetically engineered to meet specific construction needs and organized into groves, similar to orchards on Earth.

Wisp Mire, The: The Wisp Mire is a 40,000 square mile bayou on the furtherest, southwestern banks of the Hennashores. The origin of the name is credited to early sailors around C80. They named the firefly-like insects wisps. In the summer, the entire mire is aglow with the tiny insects. Pax explored the Roddermarsh portion of the Mire in C479-80 and explored the coastal region in C483. He continued his exploration in C486-487. However, the majority of the Mire remains largely unexplored. However, some of the Seek bands based in Westershore in C500 have began to make expeditions into the area and are concentrating less and less on the seemingly impossible task of finding a pass through the Billowing Cordillera.


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