|Fraser River Wapatoe (Sagittaria latifolia)|
|Inspecting Wild Rice on the Pitt River|
From there we drove to Bellingham and met my little brother, Christian, for a short hike in the Chuckanut Mountains to a place called the Bat Caves and the Oyster Dome view point, which are places I went to frequently while growing up. It was fun to see how a section of the trial that used to be clear cut is now a young forest! The next day we continued south to Seattle to stay with Katrina’s parents for a couple days. Katrina’s dad (Jeff) is a big marathon runner, and at 60, he moves along pretty well. He invited us to run a half marathon in Woodinville with him the next day. I decided to run with Jeff since I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in. We ran about 8 minute miles for the first 8 miles. I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to run ahead and once I left him, I couldn’t restrain myself and pounded out 7 minute miles for the last 5 miles. It was fun course along the Samammish River with only one large hill. After the race I was crossing a bridge over the river and was surprised to see what may be more Wild Rice growing in the slow moving water. It was also still in the floating leaf stage.
|Spray Park with Mt. Rainier in the background|
We only left the mountains briefly to pick up Christian in Seattle and then headed east to Levenworth and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area. My sister, Monica, and her partner, Bryan, met us at a public campground just outside of the park, which served as our base camp for the next few days. Monica had planned three progressively more painful days of trail running in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area but a road closure made it necessary to change her plans a bit. We ended up doing a 12 mile hike the first day, and a gruelling 18 mile hike with 4300 feet of elevation gain the second day. I actually did about 22 miles that day because I ran a couple miles back up the trail to meet my brother and Katrina and hiked back to the car with them. We bailed out on the third day of trail running and went for a nice swim in the Wenatchee River and ate ice-cream instead. The highlight of the Alpine Lakes trip was seeing mountain goats. They are evidently well acquainted with people, because we got to within 20 feet of them on a couple occasions.
|A heavily laden Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) bush|
Our next stop was a little town called Ione in the very NE corner of Washington. My mother’s grandparents lived in Ione. They moved to Ione because it was a booming town with the world’s largest crosscut saw mill that I think my Great Grandpa worked at. I had hoped to go to the Ione historical archives but they were closed for the day, so we just drove around town, checked out the riverside park, and then continued on to a campsite.
|Firebrand Pass in Glacier National Park|
|Large juicy Serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia)|
|Katrina putting Thimbelberries (Rubus parviflorus) to good use|
|A young Big Horn Sheep|
The Traditional Foods Conference on Vancouver Island was a success again this year. It is the 4th year of the event and it is hosted by the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Indigenous Foods Network, which I am an active member of. For me the best part is eating wonderful food and networking with people. Let me try and list some of the food that I ate at just one of the feasts over the course of the two day event: Crab, Butter Clams, Elk, Halibut, Prawns, Little Neck Clams, BBQ salmon, Candied Salmon, Octopus, Rock Cod, Herring Roe, Smoked Eulachon, and Eulachon Grease. Soapberry “icecream” and wild berry jams were also available at the event, but for the most part, seafood is the focus. I did a bentwood box cooking demonstration and boiled some potatoes in a 5 gallon bentwood box that I made. It usually takes about 30 rocks to get the water boiling and then a rock every 3-5 minutes to keep it boiling. Some of the other workshops were basket weaving, fish smoking, soapberry spoon making, and pit cooking. I met a woman named Elise Krohn that is doing some interesting work for Northwest Indian College and a number of tribes in western Washington. She might hire me to lead some workshops with her later this year.
|A good days harvest of Crabapples (Malus fusca)|