8/28/2021 Black River (Irving to Melrose)
Facts and Data:
River Stage: 8.0 ft at Galesville BUT
The water is rising SO FAST that this portion –(35 miles upstream)
Is already above flood stage and even over the banks.
The river is scheduled to rise 5 more feet in the next 3 days
The flow is well over 6500 cfs already
Water Temperature: 70°
Air Temperature: 86°
Length of Paddle: 1.8 miles (Normally 12.7 miles)
Average Speed: 6.2 mph–down river–a lot less back upstream
Some river facts about our trip: The river was very high today, BUT, it actually rose 6.9 feet more from Saturday until Sunday at midnight. The current on this day was approximately 6000cfs. (normal this time of year is 1100cfs.) on Sunday at midnight the current hit 41,000cfs. So it was changing rapidly on the day when we started but it was rising and increasing speed at an all time high rate of speed.
Trip Number (21-17) Let me start this post with our new motto: JUST SAY “NO”. VERY SHORT trip today. We started out with 4 people; Steve+D, Pat C. , Rainey, and Me—we went .5 miles downstream and 2 of us had to paddle back to save the person that did not even make it to the river bank before flipping in the extremely fast current. We really should never have started, but you know how it is, you are determined to go and just because the water is out of the bank, above flood stage, and roaring at 6 times the normal current, why would you change your mind at the last minute. Our trip was even more complicated by taking a person that was not sure of himself, and did under estimate the current, and did the magic flip into water and the trees. The landing we use is normally a nice drive-in area, and as you can see in the comparison shot in the video, it was completely filled with water (today) up to the road, so we started from the road and our guest never even made it to the actual shoreline. I don’t have a lot of pictures or video today, because I was concentrating on helping our guest out of the trees, saving my paddle and somehow connecting with Steve, who went down river with the kayak. We are really getting our “rescue practice”, and so far we have been successful. We did learn the value of the rescue rope, and whistles today, when we went to find Steve at the Lost Falls Campground—hoping he was there.
Like I said, this is not our first rescue—it is in fact our 4th, and the second one from this same landing. Our protocol from the last one was to meet at Lost Falls, where they normally have a large beach area and we can drive to it—BUT like everything else today there was no beach and in fact, no identifying features from the river for Steve to even tell if he was at Lost Falls. He made a lucky, educated guess and came out in the woods by the campground. When we went to pick him up, he was nowhere in sight—hidden in the back water and trees. The road ended a long way from the beach, so he had to paddle blindly into the woods and hope to find us. Neither of us saw the other, BUT Steve started blowing his whistle and we heard it, returned our whistle call, and did actually locate each other. The safety equipment we carry is there for a reason. The whistle got Steve out of the woods and back to our truck, and the safety rope that I always carry was critical in getting out guest out of the tree and back to shore in the heavy current. We could have made some better decisions early on and stayed off the water, but, it is very important under all conditions to be prepared—and we are. Getting more practice all the time. Thankfully all is well.
Better stories and video in the future—stay tuned.
To watch the video click the arrow and then enlarge the screen with the icon in the lower right of the screen. To get back to this page just shrink the page back to normal.
When viewing the still pictures below, click on them and they will also enlarge and then move through the selection with the arrow on your computer. Enjoy!!
The music selection for the day is:
Ain’t Dead Yet by Ken Fowler