Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sabino Canyon Flash Flood

Have you ever played the game telephone, where one person starts a phrase and people whisper it to their neighbor and the last person tells what they heard? I had a version of telephone happen to me this weekend. We were in the Sabino Canyon, the upper roads were blocked due to recent flooding and the tram only went up to stop number 4. It was a nice little price drop that went with the decreased 'tram tour'. The driver let us off at stop 4 and said if it started raining we needed to get down to stop 2 because they wouldn't be able to cross any of the 'bridges'. I think it was 3 or maybe 4 bridges that we did cross and they had anywhere from 6-10 inches of water flowing over the top of them. The word bridge is used loosely, it was basically a flat road with rocks stuck on the edges to keep the tram from being pushed over the edge.

This is water at the edge of the bridge.

We noticed that there were dark clouds and it looked like it was raining up in the mountains. We figured we had 20 minutes until the next tram came through so we took off our shoes and splashed in the stream.
At one point I asked Loren if he thought the stream was higher, I said it felt a bit stronger to me. I walked to the edge to try and dry off my feet and put on my shoes while keeping Rebecca asleep in the sling. Loren walked the children downstream about 15 feet to the bridge.
I see a Park Ranger come through in a truck and talk to a gentleman at the edge of the stream, who hurried to his wife near me and told us that the ranger said a Flash Flood is coming down the mountain NOW and we need to get away NOW. I grab as many of the shoes as I can and yell at the kids to HURRY and get out of the water. Loren is calm, he said he was told it was a Flash Flood Advisory. He calmly gathers the rest of the things, but I can't wrap my mind around any other words than FLASH FLOOD. I've seen how quickly water floods streets here in the desert. We hurried down the road, I bruised my feet on the rocks and burnt them on the asphalt, only stopping when we are on high ground. We quickly stuffed our feet in shoes, and I dropped Rebecca halfway out of the sling, thankfully I managed to catch her, and amazingly she stayed asleep. We walked down the road until we saw a gathering of people at one the stops right before the next bridge. We compared stories, and everyone had 'heard' a different thing. One of the families had been waiting for 35 minutes for the tram and they are supposed to run every 20 minutes. We were just about to cross the next bridge to try and get to stop 2, before the water increased too much and we couldn't cross, when we heard a tram coming. I was very thankful to see that tram because now we were getting wet from the increasing rain. On the ride back, the tram was pushed close the the edge of the bridge and in the driver's words "The water pushed us further than I anticipated, and we just squeezed by" Oh Lovely!! That tram was the last one of the morning that went past stop 2.
I'm trying not to be overdramatic in my posting. I wanted to write. How fast would you run away from an incoming flash flood, but that would be pushing the limits of truthfulness!!

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