…And Sloshing Into Spring

Where were we? Ah yes, atmospheric rivers and the “Pineapple Express. ” Five and a half inches of rain over two days.  Warm rains that melted all the snow from just the week before.

It was pretty early in the storm that I first heard from our caretaker. She wanted to warn me that our driveway was in danger of washing away.  The small creek that runs under our driveway had completely overflowed and was now running down the driveway instead of under it.

Also the culvert where the creek runs under Hwy 41 had clogged.  Muddy water had completely filled up the creek’s ravine and was now overflowing the road.

I called a friend who works for Caltrans to let them know about it.

They were already there.

A bit later our caretaker sent me some blurry photos from her camera, taken in the thick of it.

Image of a driveway covered with swift whitewater
This is the bottom of our driveway, now with about 2 inches of whitewater rushing down it!  (These photos courtesy of C.Murray)
Image of a Caltrans truck surrounded by whitewater
Here you can see the whitewater rushing past a Caltrans truck…
Image of muddy water flowing into a deep pond beside the highway
…and back into the creek’s ravine, where it then normally flows under the road about 15 feet below the road surface.  That ravine was now filled to the brim and overflowing with muddy water.

After much effort Caltrans did manage to unplug the culvert under Hwy 41, as well as the smaller one above it  — the one that goes under our driveway.

We drove up later in the week to inspect the entire property for damage.  This is how it looked then:

Image of a deep pit beside the highway, mostly empty of water now
The ravine after Caltrans was able to unplug the culvert and the water level had mostly returned to “normal.”
Image of a front end loader at the edge of the driveway
Caltrans still had to pick up some of their toys.
Image of the same driveway, no longer covered with whitewater
Looking up the driveway from close to the bottom, near Hwy 41. I took this photo from nearly the same place as the “whitewater” photo above
Image of broken asphat at the edge of the driveway
The worst damage to the driveway was just below the first switchback, near where the creek runs underneath it

We inspected the entire property, and although there was plenty of evidence of mud flows and erosion, overall it wasn’t that bad — especially considering the amount of rain that had fallen in such a short time.

Image of the steep driveway looking very normal
Above the Trestlewood Chalet the driveway was virtually untouched
Image of the driveway with some dried dirt left where mud had once flowed
Looking down the driveway, just below the last switchback, you can see some evidence of mud flows, but no damage to the driveway itself
Image of small erosion channels running through the former breezeway of the Logger's Retreat
At the Logger’s Retreat breezeway, again there is some erosion, but the driveway itself is still intact and functional.
Image of a road with evidence of mud flows across it
On the fire road near the south gate, a lot of muddy water did flow across the road, but the road itself was not damaged
Image of a boulder blocking half of the dirt road
A good-sized boulder is now parked on the road up to the top of the knoll where we want to place our water tanks.


Image of shallow erosion channels across the fire road
And north of our properties, where the creek normally flows under the fire road, it chose instead to cross here. But again, the damage is minimal.
Image of deep erosion channels in steeply-sloped soils
This is where the worst erosion occurred — where the path to the picnic area went past the tall Ponderosa pines, behind the garage.. We’ll be reworking this area anyway during construction
Flower Power

Hey, anyone remember these, from before the fire?

Well, they’re back!

I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to see those Daffodils come back.

Of course there are no guarantees that we are done with snow for this season — last year we even had snow in June!   But even so, I think we can safely say that Spring has officially sprung at the Logger’s Retreat.

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