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Creek Running North

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January 01, 2004

Mas grande el rio

A nasty storm came in this morning, dumping several inches of rain and taking out our power for about six hours. At storm's height I took the dog for a walk down to the creek.

The water was thick and brown, and several feet higher than a few nights ago. Very large pieces of tree roiled their way to the bay at a steady clip, moving faster than I could walk.

Zeke was reluctant to stand for too long in the drench and dragged me back up the hill. We dried him off, and Becky and I dressed to head back down to the creek. The rain stopped. The creek was a foot higher than it had been. We could hear its throaty voice from a hundred yards away. It carried trees, cordwood, soccer balls, discarded beverage containers, stray agglomerations of leaves and sticks. The banks were fringed with trailing vortices, rosaries of whirlpools spinning counter to the current, evil-looking boils of muddy brown pocking the surface.

Down a quarter mile, at a spot we'd dubbed "Buckeye Rapid" earlier in the week, the creek fairly roared. A string of standing waves fifty yards long tossed spray into the air. A few days ago - with the water already abnormally high - we'd watched a pretty little rapid there, talking idly about how a two-inch kayaker might best run the rapid. A broad, treacherous hole at least three inches deep spanned most of the creek's width: riding the tongue and then paddling hard to river left seemed best.

Today the rapid was non-technical, the rocks and holes drowned in fifty times the creek's normal flow.

Those waves continued at the bay, as tons of water poured into the biggest set of standing waves I've ever seen at the mouth. Creek fought bay. Creek won, mostly. A hundred feet from shore the driftwood still raced downstream, seven miles an hour into the waves at the heart of the bay, flashing flocks of sanderlings flitting back and forth across the torrent.

Posted by Chris Clarke at January 1, 2004 10:09 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Four years ago a huge typhoon passed through Tokyo, bringing a deluge that fairly turned the air misty white. Of course I decided to don my trusty Barbour waxed jacket and headed down to the river near my house. With concrete walls 3 meters high normally the river was a piddly trickle, but that day the brown soup had brimmed the high water mark and had flooded the walkways and streets that lined the banks. I trudged around in knee deep water, kicking through the flow, and getting soaked the fun. Japanese who skirted the edges looked at me like I was crazy; I have never in my life seen a Japanese who took a walk in the rain without an umbrella. Certainly are missing something.

Posted by: butuki at January 2, 2004 06:52 AM
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"Rosaries of whirlpools"??? Can I borrow that sometime?

We had a lake out in back where there's normally a field... saw a juvenile red tail pick off a jackrabbit and then not know what to do with it; both seemed a little shaken by the encounter and the jackrabbit hobbled off. I'm sure the coyotes must have gotten him last night.

Posted by: Pica at January 2, 2004 07:12 AM
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As usual, you paint a vivid picture for all of us who weren't there to see...sounds like some creek. We still have running water here (rather than ice) and yet I can see the remnants of that beaver dam just under the surface. No beaver that I could detect, but three pairs of mallards swimming contentedly between ice floes headed slowly for the Atlantic.

Posted by: beth at January 2, 2004 07:18 PM
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I love your description. Lovely little blog here.

Posted by: tammy at January 8, 2004 07:18 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs