Saturday, January 10, 2009

Flood ride

Saturday, 10 January

(More pictures are posted here.)

My ride buddies today wanted to stay high up on the hills to avoid the flooded valleys, but I wanted to see the new Lake Snoqualmie. We parted company on the Woodinville-Duvall Road, and I headed east, to the flood plain. I knew the West Snoqualmie Valley Road and High Bridge Road were open, so I would probably not be forced by high water to turn around.

The West Sno Road offered watery views across the valley. Bear in mind that on a good day, you can't see any water from this road. The only problem for cyclists was the uncertain content of the muck on the road (and thus the spray onto the water bottle) between dairy farms.

The bridge at the Crescent Lake Road (where you turn to ride to Monroe) was rebuilt a couple of decades ago after the old one washed out, so it was high and dry. However, where the road dropped down toward valley level, you could see the "high tide" line where the flood had deposited debris before it receded. The water level seemed to be about 10 feet lower today than it had been whenever it peaked.

From there, West Sno Road becomes High Bridge and it rises above the valley floor. I had figured the road would be closed at Lost Lake--the 3 Rivers Mobile Home Park always floods, and there's another low spot just down the road where there's a gas pipeline substation. But the road was not closed, and Lost Lake seemed like an epic climb after 3 weeks off the bike, so I kept heading north along the valley. Surely the road would be closed and I'd have to ride up Fales? Nope. That stretch of Elliott Road had obviously been underwater recently, but the water level in the fields was maybe 2 feet below the road. I continued on north up Connelly Road past Kenwanda Golf Course. Hmm, turn left and go up Broadway, or turn right and go down at look out at the sea toward Snohomish? Oh, let's go have a look.

And of course, that meant turning onto Springhetti Road, which was definitely closed. "I just want to look," I told myself. And then, "that water over the road doesn't look tooooo deep." The third section of submerged roadway was pretty long and a little sketchy and rather dampish for the one foot I had to leave clipped in to pedal with. And then I was at the junction with Highway 9 and Airport Way. Oh, keep going--it was either that or turn around. There was lots of debris on the road on the south edge of the airport. And more road closed signs just past the RR tracks. This water was where I had the toughest decision: try to ride through it, or turn around. Well, I couldn't bear the thought of being so close to Snohomish without actually getting there (you'd think I'd never been there before), so I watched a couple of SUVs plow through and then rode through. Piece of cake.

Snohomish was a busy place--mostly folks coming to look at the river, I think. On the way back, I ventured out to the middle of Highway 9. Looking west, Marsh Road was like a boat-launch ramp: it just disappeared underwater. And 9 itself was swamped on the south edge of the valley. I had a little more confidence going back through all those submerged sections; I could usually get up enough speed that I didn't have to pedal while coasting through. It was a little eerie, though, that it wasn't like riding through a puddle; this water was part of a river and was definitely going somewhere.
It was a good ride today, my longest in a month. While there was plenty of sightseeing to keep me distracted, it would be better for everyone if those sights hadn't been there to see. Except the eagles at Log Boom, at both ends of the ride.

1 comment:

Brian said...

A+ star post Martha.