Last month, I registered The Road not Taken Enough as a Limited Liability Corporation with the state of Oregon. I’m not altogether sure what I will do with this designation but, as usual, I’ll make it up as I go.
The application had a series of questions that I immediately forgot after answering. I was looking through the paperwork yesterday and found this:
I mean, why be “Owner” or “President” when you can be so much more. A field tech long ago and far away gave me this title. Apparently, I see no reason to change it.
The Imnaha River Valley, Oregon
It’s not you. It’s me. Honest.
There are places in the world that are still spaces. Sparsely populated, difficult to get to, sometimes dangerous, always rewarding.
I took this photo of a space that I hope never becomes a place.
Today is the autumn equinox. Halfway between the light and the dark, three-quarters of this year’s spin around the sun.
The sun seems as reluctant to rise in the morning as I am. And sets again too soon. In exchange for less light, there is more color and the forest is once again vibrant with the autumn rain.
I took this photo when the trees were half red, the sky half blue. Together they made the day wholly perfect.
Twilight on the surface
The main stem of the Columbia River has 14 dams on it, including the largest dam in the United States. Within the entire Columbia basin, more than 400 dams generate almost half of the hydropower in the US.
Ship locks at several dams and channel dredging allow navigation from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho – more than 400 miles inland.
In the late 1800s, half a million salmon were caught for canning and export in one season. Today four of the 400 dams have fish ladders.
The river irrigates 670,000 acres of sagebrush desert in Washington. As many as 100 illegal dams on private property irrigate an unknown number of additional acres.
Hanford, a Cold War plutonium production site, is the most contaminated nuclear site in the US. For 27 years radioactive cooling water from the eight plutonium production reactors was released back into the Columbia River. The federal government did not disclose this information until more than a decade after the discharge ceased.
Today, an estimated 270 billion gallons of groundwater have been contaminated by high-level nuclear waste that leaked from Hanford’s storage tanks. A million-gallon plume of that radioactive groundwater is expected to hit the Columbia River within the next 10 years at the earliest and 50 years at the latest.
I took this photo in the fading evening light of a typical Columbia River day. Train tracks, carrying coal and oil trains, parallel both banks; grain and coal barges ply its waters; Interstate 84 flanks its south shore; thousands of wind turbines, just visible on the far shore, stand sentinel to the north and south; the slow, warm, slack water impounded behind another dam holds fish that can’t move downstream fast enough and can’t move upstream at all; the final ingredient in the cocktail is three decades of nuclear waste in the water and sediments. The calm water and the pastel light are a lovely façade on a tenacious, living body of water that miraculously continues to survive.