Posted by: Matt | May 16, 2011

Flooding

This morning I took the dogs up to Umtanum Creek trail head for a short trail run along the course of the creek. I had planned on running downhill to the falls and then back out again. This is usually a pretty tame run and the major hazards are snakes, loose stones and roots in the trail. Anyone who watches the weather or who spent any time in the Kittitas valley this weekend knows that we had a very special weekend of weather. I don’t know what the summary of the event looks like, but flooding was experienced across the valley and is still washing out roads, trails and bridges all over the region this morning.

Umtanum Creek isn’t a “well developed” trail system. It has multiple stream crossings which are almost never a challenge. This morning the first couple of crossings were still easy even though the volume of and flow rate of the water in the bed was substantially higher than anything I’d experienced before. The trail head starts just below the source for the creek along the Manastash rise. As the trail descends there are a number of tributary reentrants which are usually very dry, this morning however, they were full of water so the volume of water running through the canyon became impassable very quickly as we descended.

When I arrived at a stream crossing about three quarters of a mile down the canyon it was unavoidably obvious that I was turning around. Without the dogs and with a friend I might have tried to wade the stream, but there was too much water for me to even consider the crossing with the girls in tow. So the trip was a short and muddy one. Time spent, we dried and wiped off the mud and headed back to town.

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