Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,
Pacifica
autumnwinds

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For the last few days, our whole consciousness here has been dominated by the phenomenon of high water. A long winter coupled with 140% snowpack makes for some big riparian action, which is even further accentuated when you have weeks of cold, sleety, wood-stove weather, followed by our last two days of temps in the mid-80's.

Pioneer Creek, the little clear stream that bisects the station and provides us with drinking water, is now a roaring brown torrent that rumbles with tumbling rocks. Big Creek, the river at the bottom of Taylor Ranch (which Pioneer drains into), is more of the same, only with big trees occasionally floating past.

The high water issue seems to touch every aspect of our lives here. The high, fast water makes brings more sand and debris into our waterboxes. This means we have to clean the screens out more than once a day, and it also means we frequently get air in the plumbing lines. This means we have no water in the cabins, and we get low power at the hydro shed. THIS means we have to shut down all the water lines and go without water and power for an hour or so until the lines clear.

The sediment and winter's-worth of leaves and sticks also wash down all at once, knocking out irrigation dams and flooding our paths, bridges, and pasture.

Here's what the last two days have been like.

Friday
*High water washed out an irrigation dam and flooded a path and the area around the fuel shed (fixed).
*Lawnmower died
*Air in the plumbing, no electricity or water for a while (fixed)
*Two planeloads of Important Administrators arrive for a 24 hour stay
*Hot water heater in Hornocker Cabin breaks (2 people staying here)
*Electricity line to Lab fails (3 people staying here, now 5)
*Propane line from our tank to our cabin blows, somewhat violently (fixed)
*Group hikes to the gorge and comes back overheated and dehydrated

Saturday
*3 administrators leave, 6 decide to stay another night, Professor arrives for week, student arrives for summer
*Restored electricity to Lab, involving new breakers and lots of power outages for 2 hours
*No hot water in the DeVlieg cabin (fixed)
*Air in the plumbing, no electricity or water for a while (fixed)
*Propane line to our cabin blows out again (quietly, gathers flies...now fixed)
*Ants in our cabin for some reason (there's no food out, what's the deal?)
*New screen doors delivered for DeVlieg cabin don't fit
*Debris backs up behind water line crossing Pioneer and breaks it (fixed)
*Irrigation dam by east waterbox blows out (semi-fixed)

So, we've been run totally ragged. I'm not complaining at all; it's just remarkable how much has happened in the last few days, and how much we've had to scramble to keep our heads afloat.

We also have about 6 inches of free elevation left before the river floods our airstrip and locks us in. If that happens tomorrow, we will have to pack the administrators 6 miles upstream with mules to meet a plane at Cabin Creek. We have to go up there anyway to pack down a group of 20 high school kids from McCall. They were planning to fly out from TR on Monday, but we may end up packing them right back up to Cabin if the airstrip floods (likely).

I may have some awesome job news coming up, but I will sit on it for a while longer.
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