Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Power of Water

Last Sunday I made it back over to Whitewater State Park for a picture walk. It had been two months since I had been there, biking and other things getting in the way. This was just two days after a major rain storm, tornado warnings, and flood warnings. The Whitewater River brought devastation to the park three years ago and this was a similar situation.

So I headed to my standard starting spot, the concrete "steps" across the river behind the office.
 Sure enough the water was still high, muddy, and running fast. It's hard to see in the pan above, but the water was running over the "steps." A closer look (below) shows that the one about 2/3 across the river has been moved about three feet. You can't see it, but there's another one closer to the camera, as well.
 One of the rangers stopped by and commented that moving those blocks back into place will take a lot of work. But the river did it easily. As he also said, "When people come in and tell me that there are trees floating down the river, I stop and pay attention. And that was the river.

From there I went over to the other path along a small creek. Sure enough the power of water was visible again. The water wasn't quite as muddy since it is smaller and floods and recedes more quickly. But the results were real. Here, too, the downed (and drowned) trees are in the way, moved by that tiny little stream.

Picking up floating greenery and depositing it on overhanging limbs is not an unusual occurrence.

Later I overheard the Ranger asking a departing camper if they had a "memorable" weekend. Considering that they evacuated at least part of the campground, I found his half-grin ironic. He for one knows the power of that little river and its tiny tributaries. This park was closed for quite a while in 2007 and early 2008 due to this placid river. But with high bluffs on both sides funneling the water the only place it can go, it becomes quite a torrent.

No comments: