Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Gline me a river.

Parking lot, Xmas Day, about 10:30 a.m.

It was time.

This way to the former lake.

Time to get out, now that I could, and see where the dam used to be.

Walkway to the former Glines Canyon Dam's top.

Since Xmas Day was nice (no rain, no wind, some sun), I went then.

Where Lake Mills used to be.

And the dam site had recently been opened to gawkers.

All calm and clear, with a light dusting of snow.

It's pleasant. Civilized.

The Elwha River's new channel.

Only the eastern side is open for now, but that is well done.

Across the gap, the former spillway.

The parking lot and railings that were set up are nice. A but rustic but simple and low-key.

Eighty years worth of sediments, on their way out.

Just as they should be.

Not much use for these any more.

And even though I got a deliberately late start, I was the first there.

Lots of sediment still pouring down from the mountains, by the look of the water.

There's a clear view upstream, into the valley that used to be full of lake.

Almost viscous with rock flour.

It's surprising how much vegetation has popped up in the roughly year or two since this project has been under way.

What's left of the dam, still clawing at the earth.

And it is interesting, in a different way than before.

The west (far) side is still closed to public access.

Thirty-five years back, when I was first here, the dam was roaring. And scary.

Decidedly chilly, especially above a critical elevation, though sunny below.

I went over the fence and leaned out into the canyon for a look at the downstream face of the dam. That was in summer.

More sand, gravel, and silt.


Toward the upper end of the former lake bed.

Now you can simply stand at the railing and look straight down at where the dam used to plug the river, and it's still impressive, though the water is churning through the chute and not shooting out of an exit tunnel.

More water eager to get out, now that it can.

I imagine they'll leave what's left of the dam, since it won't interfere with the river, and leaving a few scraps gives a hint of what the dam was like.

Still, and for some time yet, a land of little color.

In a few years there will be forest on what used to be the lake bottom.

Meanwhile, back at the dam, things look elegant in the slanting light.

Forest, and trails, and campsites, and it will all seem pretty well normal.

A warning sign from the old days.

At the moment it's still raw. And muddy.

Now only a tourist curiosity.

But they've done a good job. It's a pleasant sight. Next time, I'll finish this post with a walk upstream.


Next post in this two-part series.

Elwha Ecosystem Restoration

Elwha River Restoration

American Rivers' DamNation Film Guide

Return of the River A film about the largest dam removal project in the history of the united states, and the extraordinary effort to restore an eco-system and set a river free.