Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flash flood and Fremont Falls

On Friday, everyone went to hike Calf Creek--well, everyone except for Grandma, Rachel and I. Six hours is a little long for me to be away from Rachel still, and Karen needed to go grocery shopping.

I will let Andrew tell about Calf Creek, and I will tell about our adventures at the cabin.

Rachel and I fell asleep nursing and had a wonderfully leisurely nap. Karen read while we napped and when we finally woke up we left to go grocery shopping.

First, however, we wanted to find out what time church was going to be at on Sunday. We stopped by Slacker's Burger Joint and Karen went to the window to ask the staffers what time church was.

"I dunno," came the teenager-esque response, "I live in Bicknell. I think they're tearing the Torrey building down though and so they're supposed to be at our building but they're not there yet."

We drove by the picturesque chapel--a small, old, redbrick building. The lawn had been allowed to die, the flag was not up, and there was a truck pulled up to a set of open doors. Karen went in to ask whoever was inside what time church was.

The inside of the chapel was all torn up and the worker inside didn't know what time they were meeting, either. He was a little more helpful than the teenagers, however, and directed us to M&D Auto--where the bishop of the Bicknell ward works. He was able to tell us that his ward has sacrament meeting at 11:00, but he wasn't sure what the Torry ward schedule was since they hadn't met at his building yet.

Deciding that we'd spent enough time searching for a forthright answer we concluded that we'd just show up at the Bicknell chapel at 11:00. With that task behind us, we headed off to Loa to go grocery shopping.

While we were in the store it started raining. We could hear it pouring on the sheet metal roof, making Rachel laugh. It was coming down so hard!

We watched the clouds while we were driving, hoping that it wasn't pouring on the Calf Creek hikers or soaking the tents back at the cabin. A half hour later we arrived in Grover, finding our campsite and campers bone dry. The clouds had somewhat disappeared. It looked like we would stay dry.

Rachel and I woke Daddy up from his post-hike nap so that he could come to Fremont Falls with us. He was reluctant, but wanted to see Rachel at the falls, so he got up anyway. We made a stop at The Goosenecks to look down on Sulfur Creek, the hike we had planned for Saturday.

There's a short path to a lookout point. Rachel loved that hike. We let her get down and walk for a little bit even though she kept falling over. She's not very good at walking in shoes. Or on an incline.

We looked over the edge of the lookout, down 800 feet, to Sulfur Creek. It was absolutely torrential--muddy water was whipping angrily around the bends. It looked dangerous. It looked difficult. It looked like it wasn't going to be like a lot of fun to hike.

"We're hiking that?" we asked.

We had been told a lot about the Sulfur Creek hike. It was an easy hike, following the path of the river, down three waterfalls. That afternoon, however, it didn't look like we wanted to even attempt going down those waterfalls.

"This is the highest I've ever seen the river," answered Andrew's parents, "We'll stop by the Visitor's Center and ask if this hike is still open."

It was.

Still wondering if we wanted to battle the river, we headed on to Fremont Falls, noticing that the water was clear and calm.

"Strange," Karen remarked, "I thought that Sulfur Creek fed into the Fremont River..."

Rachel was all too eager to follow Daddy into the water. I was a little more reluctant--it's a little cold for my taste--I prefer to get in slowly, inch by inch.

At first, we were letting her wade in the water still wearing her onesie, but she was persistent, so we stripped her down and let her go all the way in.

She had only forded the river a few times when a man wearing a forest green shirt and binoculars (and pants, of course) came sprinting down the hill. He looked rather offical, and slightly out of breath.

"There's a flash flood coming!" he announced, "Trees, debris, muddy water!"

He took a few deep breaths before continuing, "It should be here in 10 or 15 minutes. Very dangerous. I would move to higher ground."

Not wanting my baby to be swept along with a bunch of logs and mud, we packed up and went to the top of the hill to hang around and wait for the flood to come. The flood took a lot longer to come than we thought--we started to think that the man hadn't really come to warn us, but had come to clear us out of the river so that he could take pictures or something.

We waited and waited and waited. Rachel went on several walks with different people, played with Phillip (whom she adores), and found some wonderful sandstones shaped like blocks. She banged them together, just like she does with her blocks at home. When she discovered that they made sand, she started licking and biting them, making horrible scratchy noises with her teeth. It was quite disgusting.

A family from Denmark, touring the states in an RV, got impatient and drove upstream to check things out. They returned in a matter of mintues, a lot sooner than Brother Gillespie, who had run upstream for the same purpose.

The Danish father jumped out of the RV and exclaimed in his thick accent, "Zere is big river of shocolate coming zis way!"

Within a few minutes the river had risen a foot or two. Then we saw the debris. And finally, a gush of dark, muddy water gushed around the bend.


It was quite an experience to watch it happen. When it finally happened, it was rather flash-like, but while we were waiting for it it didn't feel that way. We waited for about 40 minutes, and the flood happened about 5 hours after the rainstorm in Loa. Apparently it takes a while for the water to work its way into the river's system. When it started coming, though, it was rather fast and forceful.

We went back to Fremont Falls on Saturday after successfully hiking Sulfur Creek. The water level had gone down quite a bit, and the color went from a deep chocolate to a bright pink, keeping the color of the landscape.

Most of us in Fremont Falls

It was hard to believe that we were in the same place we had been in the day before. The water was the exact color of the ground...and a little deeper than before.

But still just as fun!

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow. That must have been an experience to watch! I'm glad it was you and not me though. And I'm glad that Ranger Rick came and saved you! :)