Friday, January 20, 2017

enough already

Atmospheric river. Pineapple express. Deluge. Flood. Rain.

Whatever you call it, I'm done. Does Northern California have no concept of moderation? I know we were in a terrible drought, but this is overdoing it.

I managed to sneak out between storms and "ride" the lake trail. Really I slip-slided between debris piles, then argued with Major the whole way home. Ten slow miles does not take the edge off a fit, bored horse.

there is a trail under the debris

And a quick hike with Major yesterday in the mucky forest made me very proud of myself for not falling in the inches-deep muck. I did not take his suggestion to go home down the steep, slippery hill trail. I took the longer but flatter way home. I'm so smart! Until rock hopping across the water, slipping with my muddy shoes, and ending up IN the creek. I think Major just laughed. I walk/squished my way back to the stable.

Major: I'm not laughing at my drenched human...I'm not...

I'm happy the reservoirs are filling. I'm happy the mountains are covered in snow. I'm happy that maybe our Spring grasses will last longer. But with at least three more days of rain on the radar, I'm gritting my teeth (that may still have mud in them) and settling in for a long winter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

bridging troubled waters

The muddy, churning water rushes by. And No Hands Bridge watches. It’s not the tallest (that would be the Foresthill Bridge, at 730 feet ), it doesn’t carry cars home every day (two other nondescript bridges complete that task), and it no longer carries railroad cars, just hikers and horses. It isn’t even straight: angling across the river from bank to bank.

lake No Hands!

But it has lasted. Built in 1912, officially the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge. At the time the longest concrete railroad bridge in the world. It is old (for California). This state is so new to permanent structures. And has so many ways to destroy them: earthquake and fire, flood and heat. Beneath this water rest the bones of other bridges, concrete and rebar, twisted and broken.

old bridge abutment
It has lasted through an upstream dam breech in 1964. Through countless storms, including the floods of 1986 that covered the bridge and swept away a downstream dam. It has seen droughts and drownings, and of course, Tevis (both directions even!)

full confluence
The American River confluence is full for the first time in ten years. Rain has finally arrived. But this rushing water is barely a test. Even 105-year-old old cement can handle this. There will be a day when it crumbles, and is deemed unsafe, and we will mourn its graceful lines.

But until then No Hands Bridge looks down on the muddy waters, remembers its reflection, and stands tall.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

rain delay

Start the year off as you want to continue: I did a short, uneventful New Year's Day ride, the best kind.

But I don't know if it has stopped raining since then. Major stands forlornly, looking out at the wet. He has chosen to remodel his shelter during the rain! Guess he was bored because he chewed and pulled off all the protective corrugated pipe around the posts. He has to stay under the shelter: didn't you know he will melt out in the pasture? Sigh.

not a scary bag since it always carries goodies!

A blue bag of alfalfa and a new orange grain pan keep him occupied for a little bit. An afternoon hike yesterday was cut short by threatening clouds opening up and dumping on us!
The adventures of Captain Major and his orange feed pan

Since the riding trails are a slippery mess, (and Major would melt anyway) I managed to get out and do a short hike. The river was rising quickly, and everyone else was hiding inside.

lovely path

rushing: South Fork of the American River

gray and wet and lovely

But it was so gray and green and lovely. The mossy rocks are happy with all this rain, and the muddy river sped by. 

stick and raindrop still life

tiny mushrooms grow on a mossy rock

The trail I hiked is now under the rising water. I think I'll stay inside and watch the cat.

Jack on his throne