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welcome back. rivers, ghost maps and dams.

September 17, 2011

Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Mount Lady Washington (foreground) view from Estes Cone.

Welp…we have been seriously M.I.A.  I’d apologize for that but, well, I’m not really that sorry.  I like to think it meant we were both really engaged and busy and just killing life.  Killing it til it was dead.  Doing life.  Sam kind of covered that in his Welcome post.  Some people like to say “shit happens” but I prefer saying “life happens.”  So…that’s what happened.  Life.  Anyway, we have been doing life.  It has been a bit crazy and unexpected and weird.  I was in Colorado this summer, near the Rocky Mountains, the Front Range to be slightly more exact but not exact at all.  I was working at Cheley Camps.  Just thinking about it kind of exhausts me so I can’t really write about it…I still have lots of mentally exhausting and challenging things to tackle today and trying to write about and/or recount my summer at Cheley will leave me running on fumes.  So that will have to wait.  Maybe forever, maybe never…they’re the same thing…which is weird.  Anyway, it was an eventful and, though I hate to be cliche and tawdry, it was in fact fairly life changing.  Life altering seems a better way to put it.  So, I’m just going to leave it at that.  I was busy playing and working and thinking and altering.  That is why I did not post.  I wrote.  And had every intention of posting some stuff I was working on.  I still have intentions to do that, but just some intentions, not every intention.  There’s some work to be done to make them coherent and not completely awkward and random and overwhelming.  In the meantime I just wanted to welcome you back, hopefully somewhat more officially.  It is our hope, our goal, to be posting again regularly starting in October.  This will likely continue to take the form of the monthly topic, although as we both dig deeper into more specific topics in the course of our studies these topics may begin to attune themselves to a rather more narrow scope.  Luckily, I think our interests differ at least somewhat slightly, and I know for sure our thoughts and writing styles certainly differ so hopefully this combination of different stuffs will keep things fresh.  So fresh n so clean.  Clean.  Okay cool.  

Well this isn’t just a rambling, excuse filled, post.  I do actually have some cool things to share with you.  Lots going on today.  Lots of great college football going on, in fact your truly is concurrently watching the Florida-Tennessee game, hoping for sideline glimpses of my lifelong friend and current coordinator for sports nutrition at the University of Florida.  So it’s feeling like a family day of sorts…a lot of the stuff I’m about to bequeath you is thanks to, or largely connected with, various family and friends and friends who are actually more like family, who are family. 

Well, big news first.  The Elwha River Dam comes down today.  Boom.  It’s a big day.  For a lot of people, but I think particularly if you are a fisheries person or an outdoors person or a Western Washington person, and even more particularly if you are all three of these things.  It actually won’t come down all the way today, but it sounded more epic if I started things off as I did.  But it will begin to come down today and that is pretty exciting stuff.  A few of my Huxley College professors at Western Washington University were pretty involved in getting this removal going, moving it from theoretical to an actual project in process.  There’s a lot of videos and articles out there about the project and about today and all the ceremonies going down, but I’m going to go ahead and promote this one from the folks at American Rivers, who have dubbed 2011 the Year of the River. 


There’s also this one put together for Olympic National Park which has a little bit different feel to it…little more history of the area and park. 

They’re both pretty good.  I think.  Obviously I spose, or I wouldn’t have bothered sharing them.  This hits close to home not only because of my connections to the area and because I’m an outdoor enthusiast and “environementalist” but also because of various relatives.  One of my uncles is President of Idaho Steelhead and Salmon Unlimited and I know for a fact he has been working on a lot of issues related to dam removal and salmon runs.  Also another aunt and uncle have managed Shepp Ranch, a backcountry ranch on the Salmon River in central (ish) Idaho, for longer than I’ve even been alive.  A big part of the ranch’s outfitting business is dedicated to steelhead fishing in the fall and spring, aside from the fact that both are avid anglers, their livelihood is very much tied to the health and existence of salmon and steelhead runs.  So, this Elwha Dam removal project getting underway in real life is pretty exciting (and hopefully precedent setting). 

Moving on, but staying on the topics of rivers, and moving from the rivers of place(s) of my childhood to a river more intimately connected with where I currently find myself, we have some pretty insanely awesome and sort of mind bogglingly detailed (and probably highly tedious in terms of the making of…though the end result is so wickedly awesome) maps.  Really just one very large map but in multiple pieces.  It’s called “Ghost Trails of the Mississippi River” and it’s pretty phenomenal. 

ghost trails of the mississippi river

Okay, so here’s the deal…if you want to be able to really dig into this map, head over to Retronaut (which is an incredibly interesting website, I’d encourage you to hang out and explore a little while you’re over there) where they have some very detailed, very zoomable images.  If you would like to know more about the map and where it came from then I would encourage you to head over here, to Ptak Science Books, another place I’d encourage you to poke around a bit.  You might be asking yourself what this has to do with family…well, it was in fact Sam’s brother who I learned of this map from…he also happens to be a highly talented dude so I would also encourage you to go check out his website and some of his work over here

Hoo.  So I think that’s all I had.  So welcome back.  I suppose I’m saying that as much to myself as to any and all of you out there reading.  Be seeing you again sooner rather than later I reckon.  Hopefully. 


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