Saturday, January 31, 2015

Report For The End Of January.

    Well the weather has sure been nice. Freezing at night, the fog burns off and nice during the day, and the last of the remaining snow is going fast.  
Full moon coming, so going to be some cool nights ahead.

 The last lone fish in the creek spawned out finally.
The local critters came around at night to check. Bobcat track and an older rained on cougar track on the right.

Things going good down there at the hot spring too it looks like.

A nice time of year.

     I wrote awhile back about that huge rain we had in December, the one that really came down and closed the roads and stranded folks out here and made my lights go out. Bastard. There was a considerable amount of fine material washed down the creek behind here, the same creek that powers the pelton-wheel generator. There was the usual sticks and branches, moss, needles and roots etc. getting washed down and raising hell with my intake, but this time there was an extraordinary amount of a course material come down, quite a bit of it building up down here below in front of the cabin when it finally hit slower water and settled out. Of course the sudden, unexpected influx of this material in the creek got sucked into the intake pipe down the hill for the power system, anything minus half inch anyhow. This material had an adverse effect on the piped nozzle at the pelton-wheel, and the wheel itself suffered more wear and tear that it has in the last 13 years. I'll get a little fine sand once in awhile, or a slurp of grit now and again and it has caused nominal wear, but I can tell theres been some really nasty material firing through the nozzle at the cupped wheel. 
   The steep creek channel down the mountain gets washed out pretty regular, so this amount of decomposed bedrock grit that came down could only mean some major event upstream. Either a slide, or an access road washed out, the latter being the most likely culprit, and a culvert being it's weakest link. So as soon as it was a nice enough day to break out the Honda, and the snow line had got high enough I was itching to run up the mountain behind and see what the hell the problem had been up there. Or get as far as I could.
It was a nice day to go for tear anyhow.
 There had been water running over the access road and washing out the fines in the normal places, but it does not reach the creek. The road only crossed the main creek in a few spots, two short span log bridges, and a culvert or two way up high that where installed a couple years back during some logging up there and the road was extended a few km. higher.

The Honda kept going through the bad spots and chugging up and up and was I surprised there was no snow, even along this narrow shaded section up high that I figured would be clogged up and the end of the road for sure. 
 The end of the road came not too far beyond, about where I half expected. This small (usually) feeder creek had a large enough culvert put in, but had become overwhelmed by the flood and jumped the road in a big way. It looks like what happened is large rocks clogged the upper end.
It was a heavy rain, and started coming down on frozen ground, so things got out of hand pretty quickly. It happened early in the storm, obviously, before I even shut the machine down and resorted to the back-up genset. It jumped the crick' and over the bank and down the road for quite a ways. Once in the steep, fast moving, narrow creek channel the majority is washed straight down probably 2km, swirling around in the intake pond on the way by with the intake screen slurping in 250 gal/min. Ouch. So this one spot here accounted for about 80 percent on the crap in my system. After I shut the system down, material, probably the majority continued to come down the creek. When the water went down a week later and I could get in there, my intake screen had been flattened out on the bottom of the intake pond, and I had to shovel gravel to get to it. Bastard.
    I don't blame the loggers, ...really. Sh*t happens.We need to log someplace, and it helps out the locals with improvements to the main road etc. If I didn't generate my power from up there, I'd hardly know they had even been up there. And certainly, that road they built up the mountainside has made access to my screens etc up there easier, and saves me a pile of steep hiking. There were I think two smaller culverts up further on small side creeks, but this guy would be the worst of it I would think
    I wasn't into trying to fill in a spot with rocks enough to drive the quad across. That was a lot of back sore work for not much. This culvert could, and will probably sit like this for a year or several, at least until the next time someone decides to go up and haul a few more loads out. That's fine with me, the culverts open enough for normal conditions, and the channel is cleaned out for the most part, it may take years for it all to come down. So for the time being, the washed out culvert is not much of a concern to me. I was sure wondering what had let loose up there though. No real harm done, that rugged mountain road helps me out quite a bit actually, and me and the loggers are still pals.

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