I’ve lived next to this wash for going on eleven years, and I’ve never seen it do anything like this.
Oh, my kingdom for a better camera. I’m standing as close to the end of my driveway as I can get, where it meets the wash. See that tree? That’s an old cottonwood tree. It’s up to its ass in swirling water. The water nearest us isn’t the main channel – the main channel is on the other side of the rapidly-disappearing island, and it’s beyond belief. Just beyond the tree it’s tearing the hell out of that cliff as it turns a sharp right.
Now I’m about 200 yards upstream, on a dune that’s usually quite high above the bed of the wash. It’s getting washed out at a rate that’s making me nervous. I’m looking downstream at what I always intellectually knew was a semi-permanent island at best. Never saw it get covered, though. Wonder how much of it will still be there tonight?
Click this to embiggen. The metallic target stand will probably survive, I don’t think the paper target backstop will. It’s all awash and there’s uprooted vegetation swirling around in there. You can see the foam line on the cliff behind them, where the swells peak. The 25-yard range marker is gone.
Moving upstream now. I have to hurry, the water is still rising and I could be cut off from higher ground. I wouldn’t like that.
Oh, crap. That’s the 100 yard shooting station. The range marker is still there but my expensive iron shooting bench that somebody gave me is completely gone. I wonder if I’ll ever find it downstream. I wonder what shape it’ll be in.
Inside that circle, if you embiggen the photo, you can just barely make out the 200-yard range marker. It used to be in a field of green plants, since the big wide flat part of this elbow of the wash hasn’t been inundated in years. As far as I can tell right now they’re all gone. At least they’re under water.
Getting nervous, bugging out to higher ground.
This is the entrance of the utility road between Ian’s plaza and the wash. The water level’s already dropping. This flood is ferocious but apparently plans to be short-lived, though how long it’ll take to drop off to nothing is anybody’s guess. I’ll not be making the afternoon trip to S&L’s, that’s for sure. Maybe the evening, probably not.
Last picture, looking upstream past Ian’s place. To my surprise there’s a spot here that wasn’t covered, and I’d have sworn it was lower than the island with the cottonwood tree. But the flood level is clearly dropping fast.
In your average flash flood in this wash it’s easy to imagine how a car could be caught, undermined and destroyed. But I’ve never seen one that would have killed me at its worst, if I were caught in it on foot. Never before today, that is. This flood could not only have drowned a man, it would have torn him to pieces.
I really wonder if I’ll ever see my shooting bench again.