Thursday, May 29, 2008

More from Beaver Creek

Today’s photo is another one from my walk along Beaver Creek. The greens of May are so bright that it almost hurts my eyes to look at them, especially on a sunny day. Who would guess it to look at this little creek that it once caused a major flood in my area?

The flood was a long time ago, in the 1830’s if I remember the story correctly. It was a Sunday. At that point people often met for church outside, including at a spot along this creek, just a few miles from where I took this photo. A few mile or two downstream from here, the stream empties out of the mountains and runs through open farmland. It was in this part of the stream that some baptisms took place in the morning on a hot and sunny day in mid-summer.

Not long after the baptisms ended, and the people were dispersing, what was described as a 7-foot wall of water tore down the creek, scattering the last celebrants and flooding the meadow. It was a miracle no one was killed, they said. Apparently a few cows—the number varies—weren’t as lucky. The flood came out of no where, out into a cloudless day, they said.

No one could explain it. Where did it come from? The explanation is a bit odd, too. The story that residents eventually settled on was that a very localized thunderstorm stalled in between the mountains, right along this creek, perhaps right in the area where I took this photo. The surrounding area didn’t get the storm, but perhaps trapped between the two mountains, the storm just hung over this little valley and dropped a torrent of rain for several hours. Perhaps the water backed up somewhere behind trees that had fallen across the stream and that suddenly broke loose as water continued to back up behind them. No one knows exactly how it happened only that it did.

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