wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Similkameen River

The Similkameen River flows east a long way from the mountains of E.C. Manning Park in British Columbia, to the *Okanagan fruit growing area in southern BC, where it turns south into the United States to  become the *Okanogan River south of Oroville, and from there to the mighty Columbia River which then flows west again to the Pacific while it forms the border between Oregon and Washington for much of the way between them.

*Okanagan (Canadian spelling)

*Okanogan (American spelling)

It can be a bit of a flood plain  in parts.

Does the river follow the highway, or does the highway follow the river?

 

Every time the highway bends,

And I’ve thought the river ends,

Then I see it once again,

Flowing past the rough terrain.

 

“Faithful follower, that you be,

Following me past rock and tree,

And you have so far to go.”

Says the river, “That I know.”

 

“I will twist and I will turn,

Shores of shrubbery and fern,

Gurgling over rocky places,

Where the little whitefish races.”

 

“Past the mountains and the streams,

Past the vineyards of my dreams,

I will hurry to the states,

Where the huge Columbia waits.”

 

“All together we will flow,

And we’ll put on quite a show.

At the western ocean shore,

You won’t know me anymore.”

 

“In the water system’s grasp,

Plunging in has made me gasp,

Sorry I’m not more specific,

But I’m in the great Pacific.”

 

 

 


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A Cool Trip – Part 1

We left Vancouver Island on our way to eastern Montana. Having waited out the unexpected September 30th blizzard, we hoped to find that the worst was over after a few days of traveling.

In the southern interior of British Columbia is the Similkameen Valley, probably best known for being a wine growing region of the South Okanagan.

For us, it was a good place to stop for a quick coffee and sandwich while the dogs stretched their legs.

Then we continued on with our truck and trailer to the U.S. border into Washington and Coulee City.

The Coulee City Community Park provides RV parking and a lovely setting on the south end of Banks Lake, a reservoir created in 1942 after the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.

Our stay at Coulee City was perfect, but the worst was yet to come. Stay tuned.


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Old Church

This old church stands on a bit of a rise at the side of the highway in a small, very small, Montana town. Isn’t it interesting how churches are often on a hill? I think there are three reasons for this: It can be seen by all and act as a reminder to come to church, the church can be seen as reaching towards God, and the nearby cemetery  is always well above the high water mark. dscn7040

The building is in the process of being restored. Some of the windows are boarded up where the panes have been broken. The main roof has a new skin of steel over it, but you can still see the original asphalt shingles on the steeple roof.

I wondered if the building was empty, so I put my camera up to one of the windows and took the photo below.

dscn7045Then it occurred to me that it was a church and the doors should always be open, so I went inside. The eight pews inside would hold 64 people if you squeezed in eight to a row, but more likely six to a row would be more comfortable for a maximum of 48 people. dscn7046In the back the piano still sits there. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an organ, even the old style of foot pedal organ, but at least they had music. The next thing I noticed was the very uncomfortable chair the pianist would have to use.

Not pictured, at the back of the room, some hymnals were boxed up, and I saw mention of the word Pentecostal. Maybe the denomination of the church was Pentecostal.
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I’m not a churchgoer, but for the sake of tradition and culture, I’m glad this building is being preserved.

***I may not be able to answer comments for a few days as I’ll be without Internet, but I will respond as soon as I get a connection. Please do leave your comments in the meantime and thanks for visiting.


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From Sun to Ice and Fog

 

After a relaxing week doing fun things near Olympia, Washington, with my sister-in-law, I drove home yesterday. It has been as cold as -9 C. in Oly, and I was looking forward to the more temperate climate of Vancouver Island. The joke was on me though. Oly warmed up to +6 and Vancouver Island dropped below freezing and had a dump of snow.

My drive home along I-5 was on dry road surfaces and with partly sunny skies. A perfect day for the drive. The ferry ride to the island was calm too, and I felt very lucky to have had such a good day of travelling.

Almost home, with maybe an hour to go, the roads became wet, with ice at the edges. I usually ignore the frequent signs on the many bridges that say, “Bridge Ices,” but yesterday they scared me a bit, especially when I was in the passing lane next to an oversize load. I imagined myself sliding under the track of the skidder that was loaded on the flatbed truck, and sticking well out into my slippery lane.

The highway was blanketed by fog so thick I could barely make out the car in front of me. It’s a good thing I knew my way home because the “pea soup” was thick all the way to my house and down my driveway. I groped my way into my house and was welcomed by the captain and two lovely dogs, Ruby and Emma, who covered me with nuzzles and kisses. I think they were glad to see me. The captain was too, of course. To his credit, he had the house clean(ish) and the dishes done.

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Almost home, the hills just south of the Comox Valley. This is the morning after I came home. The fog is all down in the valley now, and no longer on the highway.


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Chilly Day in Olympia

In the city of Olympia, Washington, the state capitol building looks over an inlet that is so far back from the ocean, you would think it’s a freshwater lake. Beside that “lake” is a well-cared-for park and walkway. But it was chilly here last week when I visited here. With the cold snap that hit the western Washington area, you had to pick up the pace if you wanted to keep warm.014

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The grasses at the water’s edge tell the story. It’s darn cold.020

I’m sure there’s a rule about not feeding the birds, but obviously people have been feeding them. Why else would birds congregate near the shore with people so close by? For that matter, isn’t that seagull getting awfully cozy with the people in this photo? I’d say they’re quite used to being fed. 

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Still, I once saw a family feeding ducks in a park, and I wondered if the Cheezies the ducks consumed would shorten their life. It can’t be good for them.

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The hen mallard has two drakes fussing about her. Lucky girl. These ducks are so common to the west coast I hesitated to post this very ordinary photo, but their plumage is  magnificent just now. I thought they deserved to be shown off.  Maybe I’m wrong about the Cheezies.


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The Last Hurrah

The Education Building in Olympia, Washington, looked to me like a castle where Sleeping Beauty might reside.DSCN4833

On the lawns in front of the building is a monument to a man who was twice governor of Washington. He must have been a good man. Read the inscription and see if you agree. I think he deserved to have his statue in this place of honour.

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Here he is, standing proud and tall. But alas…just when you think you’ve arrived …DSCN4840

Well … some things are just beyond your control, and Mother Nature has the last hurrah.
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Because it’s there

I value my life. I’ll never understand the rationale behind risking one’s life for the thrill of climbing a mountain. It must be an amazing experience –  when you live to tell about it.

While visiting in the Olympia area of the State of Washington, I stopped grumbling about the cold weather when I realized that with it, came new snow on the volcanic mountain that overlooks  western Washington. Mt Rainier, named after Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, a friend of Captain George Vancouver, is considered an active volcano. It hasn’t erupted in over 100 years, but there are frequent “shakes” that keep geologists on their toes.

They say that because of the enormous amount of ice in the glaciers on this mountain, in the case of an eruption, this would contribute to huge “rivers” of mud, ash, and debris flowing down to cover the valley below.

I don’t see residents leaving the area in droves, so they must think the risk is minimal, at least for now.

Not only are they not moving out of the area, but people come to the mountain for recreation. Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in the state and is especially attractive to climbers. Unfortunately, the mountain has claimed many lives and continues to take an average of two lives a year.

So, I ask, why do people feel the need to risk their lives  climbing a mountain?

You know the answer.

“Because it’s there.”DSCN4830