Ironwood is a tough hardwood here , very durable . once the roots are cut , two trucks with ropes or chains fastened to the upper portion of the tree on opposite sides . One to break it loose from the ground , the other to slow its descent .
It's about time that you found something to do! ;)
Where do you find the time AND energy? Isn't it hot? I have to dig a hole for a new Purple Martin house and I'm not looking forward to that job. My rush will be to do it before the ground freezes or it's too cold to mix concrete.
That will be one great addition to your place if you can pull this one off!
Oh I'll pull it off , its cooling off here . Its gone below a 100 for the last few weeks . Today was a high of 92 , thats sweater weather around here .
Last week I was moving in a few small boulders to create lizard/snake habitat . Since I know that you have nothing to do in the wintertime in the frozen north why don't you come down and help me move some BIG ones .
Would'nt want you to suffer frostbite up there . Heck if you come down here , you would be in a tee- shirt while I'd be wearing long johns .
I figure on moving another 10 - 12 loads of boulders/rock , come on down for some fun .
You really haven't lived until you have to get out of bed at 5:30 AM to go out in 20 degree weather, with blowing wind and snow, just to clear the driveway in order to get to work! You have to dress warm enough to avoid frostbite, but you build up a good sweat working with all of those layers on. When you get out of the shower you notice that you are still sweating from the morning workout. Undaunted, you put on your office attire only to find that a few more inches of snow has covered the driveway that has a nice slope up to the road. Luckily for you the sun hasn't come up yet, so you can see headlights coming from the hills to the left and right of the driveway. You "launch" out of the garage (planned for this on the return from work the night before) and with no headlights in either direction you fishtail onto the road. The sweating has stopped by now. The radio is repeating school closings on every channel that you try. You feel pretty safe if you keep your speed under 35 MPH. In a few minutes you get to the highway. Invariably there is some emergency vehicle helping somebody who felt pretty safe doing 50 MPH and wasn't. Every traffic light is now a challenge. Can I make the green light? If it changes is there enough room to stop? Nine out of ten lights will make you stop for them. You now have to hope that you are in one of the first four cars when the light turns green. By the time everyone gets their wheels turning on the slick stuff the light is turning yellow again. As soon as you hit the city streets there are a lot of plows out and salt on the roads. That's when your cell phone rings and it's the boss telling you that the office is closed for the day. You decide to spend the day ice fishing if you can make it home in one piece. This is livin'!!!
Swappin' " war stories " now are we ? All right , I'm up for it .
Now most are aware that Arizona has a lot of desert area . There are lots of riverbeds and " washes " that are dry ditches most of the year . A good way of defining a " wash " is that it is an area that is quite capable of washing ones car away if one is in one at a time when there is a good rain storm . A rare occurance here but it does happen . It has been necessary here for the legislature and municipalities to create " Dumb motorist laws " which require that people who are foolhardy enough to insist to drive through or across a flooded roadway after a storm be required to pay the full cost of thier own rescue . Of course that is assuming that they survived being flooded along with the current in the first place .
Water sheds off the land rapidly here and it can result in these washes filling and running downstrean a long ways from the original source of rain . A good thing not to forget here .
At least when you exert an effort working up a sweat shoveling that snow you are keeping yourself from frostbite . Now what do you do in a climate where in the summer where it is 110 to 120 in the shade in the middle of the day . Well it is possible to cook eggs on sidewalks or on the hood of your car so you can save on cooking costs . Solar energy at its best .
Hmmm, dumb motorists signs? I guess we're foolhardy because the Wash signs didn't deter us. We laughed at those signs in our SUV when we drove past them. I mean, there was like this little trickle of water in the middle and sheets of ice and we were thinking what a joke, can't these south westerners drive through a trickle of water and ice over the equivalent of loose gravel? When we were on our way into a remote area, we couldn't help but notice the steady stream of vehicles going the OTHER direction. It was like a massive exodus and vehicles were bumper to bumper in a few areas leaving. Forecast had been for rain but rain never stopped us from exploring before. We were thrilled to be the only vehicle going the opposite direction with all the vehicles with AZ plates leaving as if they'd melt in rain or something. Those wussies is what we were thinking. Some of the vehicles even motioned to us to turn around and go back. Strange we thought. Their loss our gain as we envisioned having the entire area to ourselves.
So we get into the park and it starts raining. We put on our rain ponchos and begin hiking. A few hours go by and we decide to go back and take a different trail. We stop in the station and there is one person there. The place is a veritable ghost town with not a car out in the lot. We learned she lived there. She tells us that if we don't want to stay with her for the next few days we better try to get out of Dodge while the getting is good. We confidently tell her we're ok with the rain. She whips out a photo of the "laughable" wash area we crossed over which dissects the only road leading in and out of the park and claims it's odd that nobody tried to warn us as most people spot out of state plates and motion them to turn back. Back to her photos of the wash- we're talking water of Biblical proportions that could overturn an ARK. My husband and me now have our jaws to the ground and beads of perspiration are on his brow as we know it's 22 miles back to that wash area and we need to get OUT. So we take off like batsoutof H E double hockey sticks with her telling us to turn around and come on back if we have to because we won't be the first or the last to get trapped on her side. We make it to the area in record time. Much to my horror, the water is already at least 8-10" deep, looks like a raging river, and extends for about 50'... and her parting words to us were that a surge was on its way. Surge? Whazthat? Hadn't wasted time asking her assuming it was worse than a wash. Whole sheets of ice were passing in front of us and I swear that wash had crests. So I tell my husband that we need to turn around and go back to bond with the ranger. He says we'll miss our next flight if we get stuck there for a few days. Told him I'd rather miss a flight than end up dead. He says I have a valid point but "thinks" we can make it so he puts the vehicle in low 4 and begins to enter the water. I have to admit I have never felt anything like that before in my life and white knuckling the ordeal would be an understatement. We could hear the rain pelting the vehicle and chunks of ice were hitting our hub caps. We lost traction more times than I care to remember when our tires ended up on the sheets of ice that we originally saw over the pebbles. A few times I could feel the tires on the driver's side lifting off the ground so I went in the back and started moving as much over to the driver's side as possible in a futile attempt to weight it. Not a good feeling. We were able to get across in dead silence but it took a while and we ended up quite a bit down from the continuation of the road on the other side of the wash and had to 4-wheel it back to the road. We decide to rest a bit to regroup so he backs up to the wash so we can maybe get out and take some photos if we want. We park in the middle of the road (no other vehicles around anywhere) to look at maps and pamphlets to figure out what we could do with the rest of our day. I'm watching my husband and I see him casually look in the rear view mirror then stiffen as he starts the vehicle to move it forward fast. I look behind us and the wash is up another foot or so and is now somewhere around 75' across and within 10' of the rear of our vehicle all in under 5 minutes. My husband did admit he would never try making it across a wash again no matter how low the water was. It took us about 15 minutes to get across and if that surge had hit when we were in the water, we would have been in big trouble. No way could we have made it to the other side in 2' water and no way could we have kept our vehicle upright in a surge. The force of that water hitting the driver's side of the vehicle was tremendous. We have a healthy respect for those benign looking wash signs these days.
You all need to change those wash warning signs to something dumb motorists can relate to like before photos of an innocuous looking dried up pebble bed with a few sheets of ice here and there to a wash photo of a raging river with vehicles flipped over getting carried downstream.
Stelco described our hazardous driving conditions quite well. I'll take what we have to deal with any day of the week to your "washes". Few people die in blizzard conditions. Worse case scenario is we get stuck in a snow bank for a day or play low speed demolition derby with other cars on the road. My bet is people die when they get caught in those washes but what do I know.
Yup, that wasn't one of our brightest moves. Hindsight is always 20/20. Even he was sweating it out as we crossed and I can assure you his confidence level went from 10 down to a 1 after he felt the currents pulling at our vehicle combined with the loss of traction and the lifting of the driver's side of the vehicle.
Yeah , a bunch of dumb city slickers and easterners and northeners . Just have to shake my head when they do not listen to good well meaning advice , guess it is necessary to write em' a book to make them understand .
Now when the nuclear holacaust or global warming toasts the earth , there is two things that will survive . Roaches and rats . We out here are called " desert rats " for good reason . I wear that title proudly .
There was a time when I was riding with a scuba group on our way to the northern end of the Gulf of California for an extended weekend to play in the salt water . Lots of Phoenicans travel there, popular destination for all kinds of folks . Roads out here sometimes are few and far between so in a case like this there is but one road to get there , friday afternoons, evenings LOTS of traffic all heading the same way . It had been raining and we were south of AJO, Arizona ( can be pronounced A-hole because it takes one to live there ) . In any case we are coming up on a wash crossing and cars are backed up . We have to park probably a 1/4 to 1/2of a mile back from it because that is how many are backed up . Imagine an LA freeway backup at rush hour . I hike up to the edge of the water in the wash to see how bad it is . Much as Equil described these things can have waves , crests and surges . Well in the low deserts these things can go down somewhat rapidly as well . Something no one else there had done was to set up any gauge markers . ( BTW . Equil if you pay attention quite a number of washes sometimes they will attempt to put gauge markers off to the side to give one an idea of how deep it is running . Trouble is being in the center these also catch debris and get WASHED away . ) So back to my story , I had gotten to the edge of this now running wash , I took the time to scout out and find some dead sticks and rocks . Putting the rocks at the edge of the water and walking out into the shallows of the running water I improvised my own gauges so one could see the progression of the water receding , going down .
After an hour or more it could be seen that the waters had receded considerably , risk of crossing severly diminished and some folk in " cowboy cadilacs " ( for those not familar with the term , that is a coloquism for pick up trucks or can be somewhat applied to vehicles with high clearance from roadways . ) Some brave few started making it across , now there is a great rush by the people there to get in thier vehicles so that they can resume thier journey .
We were traveling in a mildly jacked up GMC Savanah van , large enough to accomadate a bunch of SCUBA divers and thier gear . Good road clearance , as luck would have it , some %#*%&@ cityslicker or dumb eastener or the like pulled out in front of us with thier low slung two seater type sports car and started trying to cross .
I think that maybe you can guess , he/they made it part way across and flooded water up into thier engine and stalled thier car with us and others right behind them .
It is possible for these washes to come back up again , so if you can imagine this is not a good place to be , to be stuck on the roadway behind this #@&%%*% jerk . Steve , my bud is driving the van , I open the side sliding door and urge the others in my group out with me . Instructing them to lock arms so elbows are interlocked like a chain , in case somebody slips as to be supported by the others . We wade through the wash and grab on to this sports cars bumper and push it the rest of the way across . Clearing the way for the folks with more common sense with better clearance vehicles . We push this loco off to the side of the road and then clamber back into the van and continue on our way .
Let the city slicker finish figuring out his own problem . DUMMY !
[quote]Yeah , a bunch of dumb city slickers and easterners and northeners . Just have to shake my head when they do not listen to good well meaning advice , guess it is necessary to write em' a book to make them understand[/quote] Hey, we resemble that northerners remark! We were driving an Escalade though and the newer ones have decent clearance. It was the running boards that the water was lapping up against. I think we would have done much better if the vehicle didn't have those. Don't know that a book would work because which tourist would take the time to read it but I gotta tell you the ranger's photos were worth several thousand words... the first of which would be horror. Those little wash signs are worthless...unless one has seen or experienced what a wash really is. I guess the best analogy would be a sink hole sign up north. The southerners and the westerners figure it's a minor depression or a little pot hole in the road that they need to maneuver around so they don't damage their undercarriage or their rims and they fly over the top of the hill and ram on their breaks when they realize the sink hole sucked up the hole road and then some. Those sink holes can be pretty deep and you usually have to find another route around them. Think crater not sink hole. Just as we should be thinking raging river with little or no warning when it rains not a wash. The word wash conjures up visions of women washing their clothes along the banks of a gentle stream and definitely not what we saw.
The guy you described driving the sports car was insane or else he had a death wish with water as high as what you described. We were struggling with water that I don't think was a foot deep and I can't imagine driving even our "Cowboy Cadillac" through anything deeper than what we went through. Admittedly, my husband would have turned around to go bond with the ranger for a few days if our rental had been a sports car. He even commented at the time that he wished Hertz had the Suburban we had reserved instead of the Escalade after we went through. The Escalade was nice but Suburbans are nicer and have a higher clearance and generally don't have running boards. At least the rentals don't. I'm pretty sure the Suburban is a lot heavier vehicle too which would have helped considerably.
Well one thing at this point Equil we can agree on , probably is that if tax dollars are spent to either warn you of a wash in the west or a sink hole , local warning signs are put up for a reason . More than being a joke . Washes here are a serious buisness , when that ranger told you a surge was coming , she knew . If there is a rainstorm some 50 or more miles upstream from you , you can be in a almost cloudless sky and get hit .
You have spoken of enjoying hiking when you go on your jaunts . Go hiking here in some of those deep slot canyons and one best know the weather predictions for several days before you go for several hundred miles around . That fast water is what carved those canyons .
Another time I was on a kayaking jaunt here on the verde river over an easter holiday . At the time we started the flow rate was some 20,000 to 25,000 cubic feet a second . It was about that for two days . It rained on our last night camping out on the riverbank . Between that night when we got up in the morning and it took us another 4 to 5 hours to paddle to our take out . I checked the figures on the computer when I got home and figured we got out on about a 80,000 CFS flow .
WHAT A RUSH ! OOOooooooeeee !
It aparently got up to about 100,000 to 120,000 CFS that evening the day we got off .
Dang , I missed the best part . Even as we sat on the riverbank waiting for our wives to pick us up , I stuck some sticks at the waters edge and one could see the rise of the river in short spans of time as you said your husband saw in the rear view mirror .
Yep, shore gets boring around here .
BTW , that 20,000 to 25,000 CFS we started on was regarded as normal spring flood/runoff . The reservoir downstream had been depleted almost . That one storm filled it to overflowing .
We're northerners, what can I say. Her photos got the point across real fast.
We've been in the deep slot canyons. It was a no-brainer for us that if there were heavy rains, we'd be in deep do do as there's no place for the water to go. Don't think we've ever done several hundred miles like you have though, not even close. We've done a good 20 or 30 though. We tend to like to take our vehicle in then strike out from there. Better yet to get a guide who knows all the cool spots.
[quote]WHAT A RUSH ! OOOooooooeeee ![//quote] Glad you're not my husband. 80,000 CFS is intense. Too intense for my liking.
Looks like fun , don't it ? I am taking this pic from a downstrem position . If you look carefully you can see some lines in the center of the pic running slightly diagonal , low end of diagonal line to the right , upper end to the left . Those lines are the ribbing on the side of some of my buddies raft . They did not hit the slot of these rapids dead center running the right side of thier raft up on the boulder . This shot was taken mili-seconds before they went turtle , turning the raft over upside down .
Had to laugh at them as I had to pick them up in my kayak in the current downstream . Life is grand !
It is puuuuurty out there , when out there makes a person wonder why they want to leave . The pic taken from high up the mountain , I am up by an old Indian cliff dwelling long abandoned . It is on Indian reservation land . The year that we did this trip was the last year where kayakers/rafters were allowed to land on the reservation . The side of the river that I am taking the picture from is reservation land . Other side is the U.S. Tonto National Forest . That is the upper salt river , the pic is looking up into what is refered to as the Salt river canyon taken in march a typical time when snow fed spring runoff is occuring . My birthday bash , I was running the river on my 50th birthday . Will try for a repeat on my 60th .
Maybe a different river system though , May try for the Blue river into the San Francisco river into the Gila river Toward Safford , supposed to be good bear , wolf country over there . Should be good for 4 to 7 days .
Up for it Equil ?
I believe it was Roger Miller .
In parting ;
Green , green its green they say
on the far side of the hill
green , green I'm going away
to where the grass is greener still
well there ain't no woman gonna settle me down ...