Friday, December 31, 2010


I think there are a few places which are more diverse and untameable than others. Places such as Madagascar, Iceland or New Zealand (all Islands) are highly unique but not as diverse as Mexico is.

Mexico has many different places within it's borders and has the rich history to go along with it. Its ancient material culture is far more present today than is the material culture of Ancient America (with exceptions such as Cahokia or Ozette Village). Toltecs, Maya, Aztecs, Zapotecs, Mixtecs and Puebloans all left impressive ruins. Also, the people of Mexico have much more Native DNA than most Americans. Maya and Aztec descendants measure in the millions, each. Deserts, tropics, coastline, highlands, mountains and canyons all lie within the border of Mexico. It is easily one of the most diverse countries geographically in the world.

Mexico is untameable, because it would take a lifetime to see half of it. There are too many cities, such as Cuernavaca or Puerto PeƱasco; Archaeological sites like Teotihaucan or Casas Grandes; or geographic regions like Copper Canyone or the Yucatan. You could not see them all. And I think that is part of its draw.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Here is a unique site I completely 'get'. displays the rise and fall of specific malls across the country. I know of one in particular, Heritage Park Mall, in Midwest City, Oklahoma, which was open a year or two ago and barely a soul was ever their. Their website even had a very large picture of the inside with only two or three people (who looked like maintenance people, though it was at a distance) sitting on a bench, far in the distance. It has since closed but I got to see these final hours.

DM's is full of these types of stories. I think there is something deeper than meets the eye, about a mall once packed, fading away over a decade or two. It mirrors many things in life. Almost always, these malls die for one reason: a new one opens somewhere in the area. People inevitably abandoned the old, even if it is still satisfactory and go to the new. The ultimate fate of many things, out with the old, in with the new. I hope to do some contributions to the site soon.

-Caleb's Geography Blog.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 is an amazing site with a highly active forum. It has a huge following and as far as I can tell, is THE best geography forum on the internet. It also ranks very high on Alexa, which is interesting for a 'hobby' site. I think it is also used by people who are not interested in geography but use the practical and extensive data on every city in the United States when relocating or moving. There are thousands of threads on obscure topics and a lot of practical questions as well. Of course, there is also plenty of pictures as well. Good site, go.

-Best Geography Blog For Educators

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I love the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and would love to possibly live in one someday. I am particularly interested in Norway and Sweden. So today, I bring you some Sweden pictures:

Picture Credits (top down): Mats Nilson, matsljungberg, Jonas Ericsson,  Alexandre Buisse, Anders Mohlin.

-Caleb Golston Blog

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Found Paradise: Newfoundland

A couple of good pictures of a place I had not paid much attention to until recently.

Sources (top down): KarenNfld, KarenNfld, Jean Bouchard, Steven A MacQuartie, Michael Shaffer.

-Caleb Golston, best geography blog.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Great Magazine You Might Not Have Heard Of: Arizona Highways

I recently discovered the magazine 'Arizona Highways' at the library. The pictures are fantastic and there are plenty of stories on the prehistory of Arizona. Also, for those interested, there are many stories on the 'western' heritage of the state, though this is not of particular interest to me. Of more interest to me, are the many photographs of petroglyphs and pictographs. Above all though, most would probably agree, the best part about the magazine is the landscape photography. It did not take much research to find out the magazine is literally world famous and is not just your ordinary local magazine. The letters to the editor are clear proof of this and come from far and wide, even in issues as far back as the 60's and 70's. All in all, I would highly reccomend looking through one of the issues sometime. 

-Caleb Golston, A Great Magazine You Might Not Have Heard Of: Arizona Highways, "Best Geography Blog"
*Note: Niether picture is from 'Arizona Highways'

Source: 'Saguaro Pictures' 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First ‘Regular’ Post: Baja California

Photo by: Tomas Castelazo, 2003.
Yesterday, I was in the library skimming through a great book I come across now and then. It is a book written by William Weber Johnson called ‘Baja California’ and is part of a great series by Time-Life Books. I always like to understand the geological history of a place and it is interesting to note that 30 million years ago, The Baja Peninsula was still part of the main body of Mexico. Also, it was tropical instead of arid. It has since been moving away leaving what is today the Sea of Cortez and has become very arid. Many interesting endemic specifies call Baja California home and it is probably one of the most unique places on earth. There are a lot of great photographs in the book, while the writing is compelling as well.

Intro 3.3: The Bigger Picture

While earth is an incredibly vast planet full of thousands of regions and landscapes, it is only a small dot in the universe. We have a ‘place’ on the truly giant map of the universe, in a similar way as Toledo, Ohio has a place on the map of the United States. Other planets have mountains, valleys, even volcanoes and ice (and probably liquid water), as well as gold, iron, rocks and calcium. This is significant because, while earth is our local home and we should think locally much of the time, we cannot forget to zoom out further than our own planet from time to time, in order to keep our overall picture of placing in the bigger picture. And like the entry above: earths landscapes change, and so does the universe. Stars die; planets are born, so on and so forth. Interestingly enough, as strong a feeling of permanence having a picnic alone in Joshua Tree National Park might evoke, if one overarching theme about geography manifests itself the most, it is its impermanence. I think that is very poetic.

Intro 2.3: Geography Changes

Most likely, when most people think about the mighty Himalayas, the sweeping prairies or the various jagged coasts of the world, they see something permanent, ancient and forever. This vision of an unchanging landscape is simply not accurate though. Almost every region of the world has undergone massive changes in just the last 20,000 years. If you make that number 20,000,000, almost nothing we see now, is what it was then. The Sahara used to be covered with water in contrast to today, as was Texas. The Great Plains, largely vast treeless grassland now, was covered with spruce forest in the last ice-age. Much of what is now the Bering Sea was once dry land. And this was only thousands of years ago. The lesson to be learned is that geography is an ever changing thing due to the forces of wind, water, erosion, plate tectonics, heat, volcanism and others. Though some changes happen radically, most occur incredibly gradually. But no landscape is permanent and unchanging.

Intro 1.3: Why Geography Matters

Most people, I have found, understandably are not all that interested in geography. Almost everyone cares on some level though and this is evidenced by people’s habits of travelling and relocating. Most people’s decision for a vacation spot is driven largely, if not entirely by the geography of the location. We ask: ‘Are there mountains? Can we see the ocean from our room? Is it in the desert?’ Many times, the area is not even easily accessible or full of world class shows and restaurants. But we go anyway because of the landscapes and views; the contrast of this place and home. Also, many people relocate during their life when money allows, usually to a beautiful place. Even if the place they are moving is more expensive, requires the hassles of moving or is far from home. So, on some level, most people appreciate the benefits that the varying geographies of earth bring. Geography matters because we can only live our lives largely in a few places. The knowledge that we will never see everything, or be in two places at once, forces us to make the most of our local area. At some point, home is where you decide home is and you must settle somewhere, and not everywhere else. I think this finite fact, that we really can only reasonably spend a large amount of time in a few different places, out of all the different places on earth, is fascinating. I see specials on Television all the time about people living in Rio de Janeiro, New York City, the Middle East or somewhere else and they spend most of their lives in a place I might alone spend a week, an afternoon, or might not every step foot on at all. Geography matters because we will never all live in the same place. There will always be people living on the opposite side of the globe. Geography, then, is the subject which maps out and keeps track of all the different places on earth. We must make the most of our local area, enjoy learning about others, travel as much as we can and treat the planet right.

Why Start This Blog?

When it all comes down to it, geography excites me. More than any other subject, it never fails to keep me interested. I like the ‘field work’ too; further evidenced by the fact that it is not only top notch destinations such as Maui, Alaska or Iceland which I enjoy exploring. I have had wonderful experiences everywhere from Sherman, Texas, the seemingly unremarkable Stuckenborstel, Germany to a small town I cannot recall the name of near the Blue Mountains of Australia. It is all about the experience. Really, no matter where you go, as long as it is say 25 minutes from home, it becomes a trek or adventure. Things go wrong, unexpectedly good things happen, your prejudices about a place are constantly shattered (‘I can-not believe this view is in Oklahoma of all places’) Very few places on the planet have nothing to do.
I remember as a kid reading as many geography books as I could. Many times I would find myself looking at pictures of a place and thinking People really live there? What do people think about living in Indiana or Australia or Poland? So why not write about geography? For sure, my main areas of interest are:
North America:
  • Lowland Desert Southwest
  • California
  • Great Plains
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Northern Europe
  • Russia
Of course I am interested in other places as well but the places above are my favorites. And I have been to all of them save Russia. The Archaeology, botany and history of various regions interest me as well.
I hope to share as many of my discoveries as possible through this blog and would appreciate feedback as well!
-Caleb Golston, Geography Blog