Flood, part 1

Posted on: August 1, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

It was a long a cold Spring, very snowy, so when in mid-May the temperatures climbed into the 60’s, we basked in the warmth!

May 18th, with those warmer temps, we decided to go to town together, since the furnace wasn’t running and didn’t need tending. There was still several feet of snow in areas, so we packed the sled with laundry, donned the snow shoes, and hiked out to the car.

With light hearts, and faces to the warm sun, we made our way down the road and across the swollen creek that coursed thru the five culverts beneath our feet. The snow was wet, soft and slushy, and made the walking difficult. We looked at it as a wonderful thing.. That the snow was finally melting in the woods. The air was clean and warm and held such promise.

Pete and I had a great day in town. We did laundry, and folded clothes side by side as we watched large puddles and rivulet’s forming in the parking lot from the melting snow. We did the grocery shopping together, something we rarely did, as that was my job and my expense. I let him pack the purchases his way, knowing every bit of space counted when it was transferred to the sled. We stopped for a casual lunch and had a rare afternoon rum& coke to celebrate our first really warm day.

The sky was a brilliant blue when we parked the car in it’s snow stall back on our road. I recall commenting how much the banks of snow had gone down during our trek to town, a trek that had lasted only six hours. Earlier on the radio, the excited newscaster had mentioned a rare 85* had been reached that day! This was going to be a wonderful spring, I had high hopes for the coming year with such good omens!

We climbed the snow bank behind the jeep and slipped into our snowshoes, balancing the sled enough to pull it up where we stood, now less than two feet higher than the ground around the jeep… the muddy ground, squishy and soggy with melting snow. As we rounded the first curve of the road, it was obvious we weren’t going to need the snowshoes! There were several patches of open ground on the road, which meant we would soon be driving in! It was a bit more difficult dragging the sled over the mud instead of snow, but manageable and we were excited about the quick melt….. Until we reached the creek.

The water that was under the road was now OVER the road, by quite a bit, as can be seen in the picture, and it was flowing fast, really fast. After taking a few pictures (this was the most excitement we’d had in months!!), we discussed a course of action. Pete went back to the jeep and got some rope that is always packed. Meanwhile, I scouted around and found two long and sturdy saplings and cut them for walking sticks. When Pete returned, we tied one end of the rope around Pete, looping and tying the rope to the sled, and the end of it around MY waist. Pete leading the way across the treacherous gully wash, he stepped carefully only after probing with the walking stick, to make sure there was road under his foot. There was perhaps fifteen feet between him and I, with the sled bobbing in the river between us, as I stepped into the rush of water. The fast current sucked at my boots and quickly washed over the tops and in, soaking my feet with icy sludge.

It felt like forever crossing that stretch, when in fact it was less than five minutes. Safely on the other side, we stopped to empty the water out of the boots, and to ponder what had just happened. We left the cut saplings nearby, in case we needed to cross again. That was not something I wanted to do.

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