Sunday, May 22, 2011

A water watcing we may go

Last night we were filled with GEEE (Greatly Excessive Evening Exuberance) and we happily chattered about how we could go gander at all of the incredible snowmelt runoff that is happening all across Idaho, Wyoming and Utah as we speak.  Spring 2011 will definitely be one for the record books on many creeks and rivers.  There's so much to see and so little time.

We did decide that it's worth the high gas cost to travel to as many regional icons as possible.  Top on the list, of course, is Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho.  We saw it in April 2009 at 15,000 cfs and were duly wowed.  Right now it's running perhaps 25,000 cfs and surely would be a memorable sight.  What's amazing here is that Shoshone will peak far higher than 25K!  It could be 40K, heck, it could even be 50K or higher--it all depends on how fast it warms up in the high country.  (Click here to see our 2009 video of Shoshone Falls.) Right now the highest elevation in the Upper Snake watershed hasn't even started to melt yet.  The snow water equivalent actually peaked on May 16, a week ago today and it's lost barely an inch out of the 53 inches of pure water up there.  This mean, naturally, that Yellowstone Falls will be out of this world spectacular, too.  We hear media reports that people are flocking to American and Mesa Falls.  Little known Cave Falls will be righteous as well. And then there's Cauldron Linn.  Even seeing tiny, small streams that are normally bone dry is a thrill.

Anyone and everyone who knows us knows that high water has a hypnotizing affect on our brains.  Susun and I have been addicted to high water since the day we met back in the 1980's. We love it in a way that can't be described.  It makes the endorphins go nuts in our brains.  It is one of the finest and greatest "highs" of all time.  And, best yet, it's legal.  We don't even need flood insurance to enjoy it.  How can you beat that?

At this point, we're clueless as to when the snowmelt will peak.  Afterall, if the upper snow hasn't even started to melt yet, who knows when the bulk of it will come off?  Rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on the situation and prepare to be ready to roll on a one day notice.

Locally, the Snake is running 26,300 through town this morning but it's going higher.  They have upped teh release from Palisades Reservoir to 21,100 cfs and there's 8,000 cfs in the Henry's Fork so the local river should soon reach 29K and change.  

It's incredible up here right now--the earth's jucies are flowing--water is the pulsing lifeblood of our planet.  The power of all this rushing water is truly awe-inspiring.

Many Cheers!  jp


The Goatherder said...

I remember fondly the night in 93 we spend driving around to every creek and river crossing and every place a gully, wash or rivulet that ultimately fed into Oak Creek and the Verde came alive and rose. Then at 4:30 a.m. you called and said "I think we're going to lose the trailer, we're moved out, come on over and let's grill some burgers and watch her go." I nearly drove into the new course Oak Creek had set for it's newfound vigor straight across Cornville Road. The fire department hadn't blocked the road yet and I had to stand on the brakes. I had to drive clear around to Camp Verde and come in on 260 as the Page Springs bridge was already closed. We grilled breakfast and Milwaukee's Best toasted the rifle-crack sounds of the old Cottonwoods in the river bottom as they gave up the struggle and headed downstream. You didn't lose the trailer, but the night and morning lives in my memory forever. God bless high water!

Wayne Ranney said...

I took a scenic flight over the Green River two days ago (between Green River and the confluence) and all of the tributary mouths were flooded upstream! Awesome.

Marti Spudboater said...

If you're going to go see Shoshone Falls you best go on the weekend.You could also see several of my friends running Cauldron Linn and the Milner Mile in their kayaks, as well as folks running the Murtaugh--Idaho's answer the the Grand Canyon and just as good a whitewater. As for 50K, I don't think that's happened in my 36 years in Idaho. 42K maybe.