Streamer, a tool from the National Atlas, lets you track the flow of almost every river in the US, including its upstream tributaries and its downstream course.

Streamer by The National Atlas

I’ve always been fascinated with rivers and their mysterious headwaters that are the source of myth and legend and great adventure. That’s why there’s a great river in Gordath Wood, which is as influential to the books as the forest itself. In one deleted scene from an early draft of The Crow God’s Girl, long before it was even titled that, Kate goes on a journey to find the headwaters of the great Aeritan River, and I researched the Hudson River as an analogue to the Aeritan River; they’ve always been twinned in my imagination anyway so it’s not so offbeat. But that scene didn’t work for a bunch of reasons, although there’s no reason that something similar won’t occur in later books.

Back to rivers. I could play with this interactive map all day. You select a region, a river, and choose upstream or downstream, and it gives you an image of all the ways water is interconnected in the country.

The map doesn’t really show where each river originates, and that’s okay. I like a little mystery. Maybe someday, I tell myself, I can take journey to the headwaters of the Guadalupe River.


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