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Mountains wick the clouds
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odaraia
11.06.2006
The big storm has arrived. Other updates will be out of sync. Sorry.
So this morning, as Jim and I were checking on line news and weather updates, park and city light staff came by the cabin to tell us that flooding has closed Highway 20 at Damnation Creek, and the water covers the road again near or at Marblemount. It is too deep for our cars to get through, and they were concerned about getting their high trucks through as well. They expect the flood water to crest at 4am tomorrow. The Visitors’ Center is closed for today and tomorrow. There is no remedy: all we can do is wait for the storm to subside, the water to drain and flow downstream. There is an amazing amount of very warm rain falling--the thermometer reads 55 degrees F outside, and it was warmer earlier. We are literally in the clouds.
Charles Beall, who was promoted and is now the new chief of interpretation, called to check up on us and told us that the road is blocked east from the Gorge power station, due to rock fall. He didn’t indicate how serious it is, but City Light has to maintain its access to the dams. We have seen the Sheriff's vehicle and City Light trucks all day.
Around 1pm, Jim and I walked out to the bridge near the park entrance: it crosses the Skagit, and we looked up and down it. Waterfalls are dramatically visible as frothy white ribbons when before they appeared as rock slides or incisions in the rock walls and vegetation that are mountainsides here. Flotsam is comprised of logs; deep booms echo from the river, which is so wide, muddy beige with dramatic white crests, that its banks are covered with water. Jim got soaked.
At 3:30, we took the car across the bridge, and I used the video camera to film the water. However, it is so dark now that it may not do justice to the motion around us. I filmed the river below the bridge, the banks and then tried to shoot some of the waterfalls above Newhalem. The clouds had descended from their heights a couple of hours earlier. When it is this wet, what is the difference between the clouds, the river and us? We drove to Goodell Creek Bridge and the water coming off the creek is higher and even more dramatic than it was on Friday when I drove to Sedro Woolley.
As dark descends, the mountains still wick the water from the clouds. I think there have been some lulls in the rain’s intensity, but there has been no break since last night.

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