Monday, May 16, 2011


We live a mile above the Snake River near Clarkston. The river is really high now, and Mike wanted to walk on the levee pathway this afternoon to see what's happening.

As we parked the pick-up at the bottom of the hill, Mike remarked that there was a geocache at that spot -- one he had tried repeatedly to find. Although we weren't geocaching per se, he suggested I help him look. "Oh no, it's a clever hide," he said, as I looked in obvious spots on a chain link fence. "People who have found it have called the owner for hints." Then he dropped to his haunches and picked up something just inside the fence, and it proved to be the cache. Here's a picture of him -- all smiles.

By the time we crossed the road, a county worker was placing a "closed" sign on the levee pathway. "That just means bikes," said Mike; "it surely couldn't mean us." The worker pointed out that the levee was underwater "over there," pointing in one direction, and "over there," pointing in the other, meaning the path was unusable.

We checked it out anyway -- to the left -- then to the right.

But since we could only go so far, we got back in the pick-up and drove south toward Asotin, probably a quarter of a mile. We could see the levee was under water that whole distance.

Again, a sign indicated the path was closed, but we ignored it and continued to explore. The river was very high, very swift. We couldn't go far to the north. Nellie waded in and discovering the water to be a bit deep, simply gave up and swam. She seemed to find the whole experience rather exciting and enjoyed poking around in the rocks and bushes as well as sniffing the river. Seeing that there was an open stretch of path to the south, we headed off toward Asotin.

Here's a view across the Snake River to Hells Gate State Park on the Idaho side. You can see the beach is completely under water.

The river was obviously still rising. And although we did "walk on water," so to speak, in several spots, when we reached this point (photo right), we agreed there was no point in going farther. We could see another long stretch of path was under water. KW


Leah said...


Hallie said...

That is just crazy! So are they letting water out of Dworshak and that's what's causing the super high river? Is there too much water at the reservoir?

That Nellie dog is SO funny!

Kathy said...

Leah -- so funny! I only say "EEEK" when it happens in the house -- like the dishwasher springs a leak.

To answer your question, Hallie, they say the high water is caused by ran and spring run-off. We had unusual snow pack in the mountains this year. (I heard 140% of normal.) So warmer temps and rain are causing the mountain streams to run full and pour into the rivers. I know that several weeks ago they drew Dworkshak Reservoir down in anticipation of this high water event. I don't know much about how the regulation of the rivers through the dams works.

Chris said...

I'll add to Kathy's comment about the Dworshak--it's down 150' in anticipation of the big thaw, but the main Clearwater is running high as is the South Fork. Just so much snow, then we have a few warm days, then it rains...all adding to the run-off. I heard on the news last night that the Okanogan Mtns (I think it was) are at 300% of their usual snowpack.

Meanwhile, I'm glad I'm up here on the hill!

Kathy said...

Thank you for the statistics, Chris. And an official of the National Weather Service at Spokane, quoted in today's Lewiston Tribune, say that the flooding will likely last for weeks depending on the weather. Periods of prolonged hot weather would produce rapid snow melt and the risk of flooding, but if the weather continues to cycle between warm and cool periods, the risk of flooding will be much lower. But, in that case, of course, we'll continue to complain about the cold spring.