Monday, November 24, 2014

Adventures with Rick and Rose to the Elwha

I received a phone call this morning inviting me to go and visit the Elwha River sites where two 100-year old dams have been removed in the biggest dam-removal project ever completed. Rose, my pal and her husband, Rick, wanted to go and see how much the landscape had changed. They've been here for almost 20 years.

Port Angeles foliage; only around for a few days.
I arrived in the region just as the dam was being removed, so I never saw it in operation.

You can read more about the history of the Elwha here and see a documentary about the un-damming of this wild river. It's been a long process of fixing a river and the fish that inhabit it, along with all the tribal impacts to native peoples.

Rose leads the way toward the Elwha River.
The sun was shining in between raindrops and what I've learned about the NW is that you do NOT do something just because it is raining. For one thing, it might stop. For another, if it doesn't, you never get to do anything... so we go.

The old growth forest reaches upwards and all the leaves that were providing shade this summer are now acting like spongy carpets on the trails.

I was traveling with two folks who, like me, know the importance of leaving marks or signs so we could find our way back from river's edge because at this time of the year the leaves and downed branches make trails harder to see.

We stopped at the Lower Elwha dam, now gone, then walked over to the river's edge, then drove to where Glines Canyon dam used to be (pictures at the end of this) and then drove all the way up to the beginnings of the Anderson trail to the Olympic Hot Springs... we'll go there another time.

Information about the dams is posted at both sites.
Following the removals and the clean-up, fish began returning this fall, reinforcing the belief that if you remove the dams, they will come...

We didn't see any fish swimming upriver but there were plenty of folks with the same idea we had; to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather.
Rick and Rose looking over the former lake;
the remains of the Glines dam are in the back.

Looking over the free-running Elwha from the remains of
the dam. The silt will nourish further downstream.

New cut of the wild Elwha now the lake is gone.

New snow on the Olympic peaks...
The recent rains brought snow down to the 5000-ft. levels. There may be enough to act as a refrigerator and to keep it for awhile. It's below freezing down in the valley as I am writing this.
The Olympics feed the Elwha...

And now the Elwha may feed us, on many levels.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cold... isn't news

But me writing novel during the month of November is, and even more impressive is that my ten-year old granddaughter is also writing as well.

I suspect she is making better progress than I am... according to the statistics, I should be generating something like 1,675 words a day. I can just about do that over the weekend.

I haven't talked to her about her plot, but mine is about two teen-aged boys who get kidnapped by their bi-polar father and how the journey of lifetime takes a lifetime to forget.

Based on a true story told to me awhile ago, I tried to find the storyteller again and last I heard he was possibly in Tennessee, but attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. If my story gets optioned, I'll let the publishing house hire a detective to track him down.

Learning that a salmon patty is NOT gluten-free... sigh.
The other bit of news for me is that I've pretty well determined that I am gluten-intolerant.

I'm intolerant of other things, too - people who justify all their behaviors as being God-directed, waiting in long lines, too-early Christmas messages presented as "holiday" messages, public radio and television stations masking advertising as 'donors,' service people at stores who are unable to give clear directions on the phone on how to drive to the place where they work, seniors who act proud of not being able to use computers or smart phones and mechanics who don't bother to ask me if I know anything about the internal combustion engine before they start talking down to me about what they think is wrong with my car.

That's only a partial list... LOL! Seriously, after a week of eliminating ALL wheat products from my food sources (and that stuff is hidden in a lot of crazy places!) I am feeling better, sleeping better and - finally - losing weight. My final clue was a flour-based chocolate chip cookie - just one - which left me feeling bloated, thirsty and gave me a headache an hour later.

And the next day someone asked if I'd read "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, M.D. when I was complaining about not being able to enjoy that cookie. So I got it, and surprise! All my complaints and others were outlined as being a "wheat addict." I'd even told a friend recently that if I could only have two things on my menu one would be warm French bread with butter and chocolate cake with real vanilla buttercream frosting.

Chicken Almond salad with green onions and celery... yum!
So, interesting observation.... no more wheat, no more cravings after five days being wheat-free. Who'da thunk it? I've been learning a lot about how the wheat of the past, the wheat that was in my early life, is NOT the same wheat today. Did you know that scientists, in their effort to create faster-growing, more cost-effective acreage yield, have created a strain of wheat that is smaller but it is also truly incompatible with many human digestive systems?

Get this book and read it for yourself. If you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, having digestive problems, arthritis symptoms, craving sugars, feeling depressed or feeling like you can't think clearly (to name a few issues created by wheat allergies) you may be gluten-sensitive, too.

I think that when I was living in Colombia I didn't eat much food with flour in it and I was walking a lot, so it was healthier for me. But as soon as I came back to the U.S. I started eating all those things I couldn't get further south. And it didn't help that my adrenal glands were struggling as well.

So I cleaned out my pantry of everything containing wheat... crackers, flours, pastas, salad dressings with blue cheese and bread mold in them (used to ferment cheese), sausages, soups, any ingredients in seasoning mixes that might have barley malt, barley extract, dextrin and maltodextrin, corn chips and trail mixes. I'm still discovering foods and ingredients that are truly gluten-free.

I'll check back in with y'all in a week, but based on my personal research, I'm pretty sure that at the least this is going to be a healthier option for me.