Thursday, June 18, 2015

Water, Water, Everywhere

OK... I'm sorry if the weather related theme is getting old, but this has been such a remarkable spring here in the Mile High city, that I just have to keep writing about it.

The rains have slowed down a bit... though it's pouring at the moment, and I may have to turn off the computer if the lightning gets much closer.

Bike riding in this weather has been... well, interesting. About a week ago we got caught in a big thunderstorm for about an hour.

The bike path has these little roofed structures where they put port-a-potties, and this photo was taken from under one of those where a group of us were huddled to wait out the storm. The smell was lovely! I wouldn't necessarily mind getting wet, but the lightning was a bit scary. Normally we'd wait out this sort of downpour under an underpass, but alas, they're all flooded out as well.

Anyhow, the weather has warmed up and dried out a bit, which is good, but all the past month and a half that it's been raining here in the city it's been snowing up in the foothills and mountains. So now that it's warming up the snow is melting so the water levels are still going up.

Today CatMan and I rode down to Chatfield Reservoir to check out the flooding. I wanted to take another comparative photo of the flooded swim beach to go with these:

Mid - May
Late May/Early June (can't remember the exact date)
But... this is as far as we could get today:

The turn-off for the swim beach is about 300 yards down this road. Hmmm...

So we decided to try an alternative path on higher ground except:

So then we tried an old abandoned road that looked like it could get us to a spot where we could see the swim beach, but alas - it was a bit more abandoned that we had hoped:

There's an old road under there somewhere
Just about as we got to this spot we heard a terrible screeching, and looked down to see this frightened little killdeer fiercely protecting her eggs:

The poor little traumatized thing.

At that point we gave up on comparative beach photography and decided to ride the other way and see how the view was from the top of the dam.

Well... the swim beach is under there somewhere - I'm thinking maybe the stuff you can see sticking out of the water near the left part of the photo are the roofs of the beach restrooms that you can see in the earlier photos, but I'm not exactly sure.

We did see a cute little foofer though (that's CatLady talk for a bunny rabbit) at the top of the dam. Amazingly this guy stood still long enough for me to get a good shot of him. Usually we only catch fleeting glimpses of them as they dart across the path.

The other strange thing we've seen a lot of recently are scenes like this:

And this...

That's a submerged pickup truck, in case you couldn't tell
I don't think any lives were lost in either of these accidents, thank God, but what's really odd is the sheer number of them. I mean once a year or so we'll hear about a car veering off the road into the river, but in the past few weeks alone there have been like half a dozen of them! I'm not entirely sure I understand why cars are more prone to falling into the river when the water is high - it's not like the banks are coming anywhere near the roads or something like that...  It's crazy!

Anyhow, I fear this post is sort of rambling with no particular direction. So, as long as I'm being random I figured I'd share this little ditty with you:

CatMan's been working out a nice fingersyle guitar arrangement of this song, and it was running through my head all throughout today's ride. "Once I was happy, but now I'm forlorn, like an old coat that is tattered and torn..." I just LOVE that lyric!

Anyhow, I have a real soft spot for this scene from the classic film "It Happened One Night." A busload of stranger all having a sing along - I dunno... part of me just pines for a time when people did this sort of thing. Seriously, can you imagine people doing this in today's world? It would just never happen.

Well... I did see something on the news about the cast of the Lion King stuck at an airport singing for everyone - but somehow the idea of communal singing has sort of been lost in our culture, and now everything is a "performance." Heaven forbid people actually interact with each other!

OK - I'm digressing into stream of consciousness here... Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo ...

I think perhaps I'm a bit tired, so I'd better sign off before this gets and more haphazard!

Hope y'all are happy and stayin' dry! :-)


  1. Keep the weather posts coming. I find them interesting and especially enjoyed the picture of of the killdeer.

    As for community sings. They're not entirely gone. Last weekend, I went to my sister-in-laws funeral. Afterwards there was a reception with at least 200 people. As she wanted, the mood was upbeat and people were enjoying themselves (well, as much as you can when you mourning/celebrating someone's life.) As per her request, her brothers played some tunes on their mandolin and guitar. The large crowd that was talking, eating, etc. all got quiet and sang along with the music when it started. It was great to see.

    1. The little kildeer was amazing. One wouldn't think a creature that small would be capable of making a noise so great, but it sounded like a car alarm going off or something. Which was a good thing because she might have gotten run over or stepped on had she not alerted us to her presence. And the other thing was that there was another one - presumably her mate, who was running around doing this broken wing routine. I think he was trying to get us to go after him and leave the nest alone. I tried to get a shot of him too, but alas, I'm not great with the little point & shoot camera.

      Anyhow, I agree that the group singing thing isn't totally gone - and it's wonderful that people sang together at Allison's funeral - that's certainly what I would want. Sing alongs were popular at the music school that I used to run too - it was part of why I loved the place. And I have to admit that I've been crying my eyes out (for more than one reason) at the scenes of people in South Carolina singing "We Shall Overcome." I guess I just think that the world would be a better place if singing together was an everyday occurrence, not one saved for special occasions.

  2. So Blogger hates me and hasn't been publishing my comments for...probably the last year. But I'm here and have been reading!

    I'm trying this under Explorer v. Firefox, mainly because I love you enough to tell you that it's lightning not lightening (because I'm a little too obsessed with grammar).

    We too have been having a lot of rain in Austin, but for the most part, the flooding recedes quickly. On the plus side, our major lakes are almost full again!

    1. OMG! I can't believe Blogger has been eating your comments for a year! I'm totally bummed! Have you tried Chrome? It seems to work the best for me just in general. And since both Blogger and Chrome are both made by Google, I figure there's a good chance they'll play nicely together.

      Anyhoo... lightning vs. lightening - Good Gawd! I think words like this were created for the express purpose of torturing people like me. Your corrections are welcome anytime because you can rest assured that if the spell checker doesn't catch it, there's no way I will! :-)

      I'm glad to hear that Austin hasn't suffered too greatly from all of the flooding in Texas. And I really shouldn't complain about the rain because it's done wonders to pull us out of drought. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't even notice the high water if it weren't interfering with my beloved bike path! :-)

  3. Love the little bunny and killdeer! I looked up the killdeer habitat (and found they visit around here for breeding/summer) and realized that the bird I saw building its nest on the ground last summer probably was a killdeer - never knew the name!

    1. It's funny - I've been mostly oblivious to birds and bird names until I started taking pictures of them... then suddenly I find I have a need to know what I've taken a picture of! I didn't know what it was either until I looked it up. I just did a Google image search and typed in "bird with orange eyes and striped neck" and the first one that came up was a killdeer. Then I did a search for killdeer and it was pretty clear I had the right bird!

  4. I will refrain from saying "when it rains, it pours ..."--oops, I think I just said it! We had flooding in our neck of the woods a couple of years ago (record-breaking flooding)--it's so weird to see areas that usually are dry being underwater.

    I also love the killdeer! The eggs are neat to see, too.

    I grew up in a family of singers--not professional, mind you, just people who like to break into song, complete with harmony. My parents enjoyed a wide variety of music styles and I appreciate it so much now that I'm an adult. We were possibly the only family who, after church, listened to polka music. It didn't at all seem odd to me to hear "In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here ... " after a Sunday service.

    I have noticed, like you, that people don't sing as often just for the joy of singing anymore. I sing in choir at church to get my singing "fix" in. :)

    1. My parents were/are singers too. They actually met in a singing group in college. And I have fond memories of YMCA daycamp (well... not all of the memories are fond, but the singing ones are.) They'd cart us around in school buses, and to keep us occupied we'd sing constantly. In fact... lately with all our rains my internal radio station has been playing many a version of: "Oh, the Lord said to Noah, there's gonna be a floody floody, Lord said to Noah, there's gonna be a floody floody, Get Those Children (clap) out of the muddy muddy, Children of the Lord."

    2. I grew up singing that song! I had forgotten, but you reminded me that my bus driver had us sing on the bus in elementary school to help keep us occupied. "She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes" was a favorite. On my children's busses, the younger ones listen to the radio (I complained when my kindergartener came home singing "I'm sexy and I know it"--I thought that was a little over the top for that age and the bus driver should show more discretion in the radio station chosen) and the middle school/high school kids either are permanently attached to their phones or are causing some sort of trouble. There are many very good things that technology brings us but sometimes I think we lose something valuable along the way ...

    3. Oh... that makes me so sad that kids don't sing on buses anymore! Sigh.

  5. I have never been able to get a photo of a bunny! The killdeer is so cute :-)

    As for rain, This is our second straight week with rain every day, although not all day long most days. but we're in for another week at least according to the weather channel. I've had my fill of it. Daily I receive alerts of flash flooding and all I can say is duh, what do you think will happen when you live in a city of hills and it pours for days on end?

    Your pictures of the flooded beach are something. We don't have that kind of flooding here even after all the rains. Maybe we have better storm drains?

    When I was younger I took the bus everywhere and people talked and yes even sang if the mood struck. For the last couple of years I've taken the bus to travel distances and people pretend you aren't even there. Rarely is there any conversation on the bus so forget spontaneous singing. Riding the bus is more like riding an elevator. People stare at the door or the ceiling rather than saying hello.

    1. Oy! I feel your pain with the rain. Seriously, enough is enough!

      I probably didn't explain the flooded beach very well. The beach is at Chatfield reservoir, which is a flood control reservoir designed to protect Denver and areas further downstream from flooding on the South Platte. So the flooding there is "by design." There are two other flood control reservoirs on smaller creeks that feed into the South Platte, and they are also flooded - which means they're doing their jobs.

      The interesting part is that usually it's an either/or thing with high water levels on the river & reservoirs - either the reservoirs are high because they're impounding water, or the river levels are high because they're letting it flow. This year, we've got both the reservoirs and river at record levels! I think it's been a careful balancing act for them - letting as much water flow as they can without creating too much flooding downstream - but trying not to completely flood out the parks surrounding the 3 reservoirs. It does make me really grateful for those dams though, because if it weren't for them all of that water would have been flowing through the city!

      Anyhow, I totally love your elevator analogy, because that's exactly how it feels these days. It's like people all walk around in their own little bubble or something. I noticed it especially when I had jury duty back in February. I mean, you're sitting in this room with several hundred other people, and virtually nobody even so much as says hello to each other! I dunno... I just don't understand it. It almost seems like all of our technology that's designed to keep people connected, really only serves to isolate us from the people who are right in front of us - all the while giving people the illusion of interaction.

  6. That is some crazy weather. Be careful crossing flooded roads. I've heard a car can wash away in 6" of moving water...I imagine a bike might wash away in 2"! Love the fauna photos.

    1. Well, riding through water can cause a whole host of problems for bikes. CatMan did it once earlier this year and then had to spend the next week taking his bike apart and greasing all of the parts that got submerged so they wouldn't rust! Needless to say, I'm much too wimpy to even attempt it!

  7. Great photos as usual! And I like a little stream of consciousness...that's where a lot of the best ideas hide out.

    1. Ha! Well, in my case, they seem to be fairly well hidden! :-)

  8. I enjoyed the animal pictures in this post - so cute! It's really scary that you had so much rain!

    1. The flooding is a bummer indeed, but it's nice that we aren't having to worry about forest fires! :-)


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