Saturday, July 24, 2010

With rainstorms lashing

I heard that we were finally getting rain yesterday. How exciting! I was at a picnic in the mountains, Thursday night, and we got rained out. But when I got home, about 20 miles later, nary a drop!

I was eager to see the rain and know that I wouldn't have to water my garden. It had already stopped raining by the time I got home. But the water was everywhere! Only one other time have I seen so much runoff and boy, is that a story, which I will tell you about after I show you some photos of last night.

In desert regions, creekbeds are often dry. So dry, in fact, that you wonder if there ever was water in them. We call them arroyos. Anyway, I have one running alongside my house, a natural divider for my horse property. It runs the length of my arena down to the roadway.
 Last night, it was a raging river! Okay, well, a rapidly moving stream. Remember, this is a few hours after it rained. Anyway, I couldn't cross it to the barn without wading so I found me a handy bridge. We always talked about putting a bridge in there.

These pictures just don't do it justice. The road into my neighborhood was rushing water and everywhere I looked, the ditches were overflowing. Note to self- must clean out culverts. This kind of rain only happens rarely and by this morning, it's mostly dried up again.

Anyway, on to my story-
Several years ago, we decided to go on a family trail ride. We loaded up Scout and Nadia and drove a couple of miles over to a neighborhood, called Five Hills, where we could access National Forest trails. My daughter and I would ride the horses while my two boys and husband rode their mountain bikes. My mom came along and stayed at the truck, reading her book. We saddled up and rode out with the guys, wandering around on the back roads and crisscrossing dirt trails until we got lost. Well, we knew pretty much where we were but couldn't find the right trail directly back to the truck and trailer. Ross went ahead to find the trailer and the four of us continued on. Anyway, we'd been riding for a couple of hours and we finally came out into a subdivision several miles down the road.

Then, it began raining. HARD! We rode the shortest way back to the starting point, along Route 66, the highway, uphill, walking the twisty, curvy, rocky shoulder in a heavy thunderstorm with lightning strikes happening all around us. SCARY!!! One of my favorite songs is by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Horses through a rainstorm, and the line, "Have you ever ridden horses in a rainstorm or led a lion through a busy street bazaar?" came to mind. Onward, we trudged, worrying about my Mom worrying about us, as we knew she would be, and about Ross, did he make it back to the truck?? Scout was prancing and for some reason I got off, to cover the saddle or something? and I couldn't get back on so I had to walk him. My son and husband walked their bikes and my daughter still rode Nadia.

The freeway runs parallel with Route 66 but is on an incline above it. It had rained so hard that, along Route 66, waterfalls were forming from the overhead freeway down onto the embankments and running in rivulets along Route 66. The shoulder we were walking on was a few inches deep in rapidly running water. Needless to say we were soaked when we finally saw the turnoff into Five Hills. It had stopped raining and the sun was shining. We were glad to see Ross sitting with my mom all safe and dry. Then we unsaddled and loaded the horses quickly and headed home.

The short drive home was amazing. In all the fields there was water runoff down towards the road. The ditches were overflowing and as we turned into our neighborhood, we saw that the road was like a river. Farther along the road, we saw our neighbors standing outside with our other neighbor watching the heavy runoff as it diverted from my neighbor's driveway by a matter of inches. Oh my! They were so close to being flooded! The water came rushing down my 'dry' arroyo and into the little ditches which were overflowing. It spilled over the roadway and just passed their driveway which is downhill towards their house. That is such bad planning!! If the water had traveled that way they would have been flooded for sure. The water level was so high in my arroyo, not like my little stream photos, that it was spilling over the embankments and running into the field near my house too.

Within a few hours it all subsided and dried up and you'd never know it happened except for the strange brush marks on the terrain.

With rainstorms lashing - song: Ballad of the Adventurers, artist: David Bowie, album: Baal


Shirley said...

Wow, when it rains it pours there! We had a short but heavy rain/thunderstorm the other day while I was at work, got home to find that I had left the window open in my office- I had mopping to do!

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Glad you got some rain. Except for a few brief showers, the rain has been going around us.

Your story sounds like the same summer, I believe it was 2006, when we got so much rain. It was in July and it rained over 3 inches in an hour. Our house was surrounded with water, but it sits up so no water was getting into it. The area closest to the horses' stable was about 6 inches deep. Fortunately, the lot goes up from there so they had ground to stand in that wasn't under water.


Sydney_bitless said...

Wow crazy rain. We finally got our rains too.
I'll never forget after I got Indigo I was out riding and I looked up and the sky was BLACK and THUNDER and I was about 3 or so miles from home. I thought for a moment and turned around only to be met by the craziest storm. Lightning, thunder, crashing, windy, crazy! I was in the middle of some fields. Too slippery to gallop home, no trees. So I headed for the next best thing, a cornfield. By the time I was back home it was sunny and not a cloud in the sky.

fernvalley01 said...

Wow! thats some rain! And its all gone by morning?

Breathe said...

Flash flood events in the desert are incredible. The intensity is breathtaking.

Great story, but one better retold than experienced, I'm sure!

Crystal said...

Wow that sounds like a lot of rain in a short amount of time, not a good time to be caught riding!

Rising Rainbow said...

Wow, that's a lot of rain. Glad it didn't do any damage.