Flood, part 2

Posted on: August 11, 2010

The rest of the walk back to the house was in stunned silence. We put the laundry away, and I dealt with the groceries and started dinner. The only thing we could possibly do, was wait. Wait until the water receded.

The next morning, with more blue skies and sunshine, we walked back to the creek, never expecting what was waiting for us. The culverts, weighing more than we could even roll, were up ended. Some of them already washed down stream. ………….and the river continued to roar past us. (see picture)

What we did notice that morning, was the road from the house was almost completely open, muddy but open, and we could drive the truck to the creek, no further of course, but it was a start.

At the end of the second day, our curiosity got the best of us, and we took a late ride down to the creek… the river had receded from overflowing the banks, but was still rushing. Why? The culverts were gone. All of them. Of the five, three were within 50 feet of the crossing, one was almost 200 feet downstream and the final was in between.. Crumpled, like a flimsy tin can. The power of the water was mind boggling. Apparently, so much debris from further upstream had backed up against the culverts that the force of the water just.. Pushed…. Until the resistance was gone. There was this gaping hole in our road and no way to get from one side of the road to the other. At least we had one vehicle on either side…

Over the next few days I made several phone calls. See, the property belonged to the County Road commission.. They still owned a now abandoned gravel pit to our south, and technically that portion of the road was theirs. When I called, and asked about washed out roads, I was told it was the responsibility of the land owner, not the road commission, to fix wash outs. Then I pointed out that the area in question was owned by the road commission … I was met with silence. He then said he’d get back to me and hung up. I never heard another word from them, of course.

We needed to do something on our own.

The first thing we did, was to place several boards from one bank to a large rock, and from there to the other bank and then yet across another to the road. A foot bridge. Then it started to rain…

For several days, for hours and hours, in the rain, Pete and I worked with his come-along, slowly dragging the culverts back into place. It was quite the process, since the winch only stretched so far. We went thru two come-alongs during the process. With the constant, tedious racheting, Pete’s mind started to wander, and he over tightened the cable, breaking the internal gears. Time for a new one. With the new tool, we pulled, inches at time, then move, a few more feet, then move again, until after four days, we had dragged three of the culverts back into place. The furthest was much too far… and the damaged one was useless. .

Now what???

Pete started cutting nearby trees and I stripped off the branches. Slowly we built a log bridge across those three culverts. The final addition was 2×12 boards, in two strips, to give support to the vehicles. I was terrified the first time I crossed, but I knew, that in watching out the side window, that as long as I kept that front tire just inside the edge, at a certain spot, the other tires were fine and would follow….

We had access.

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