I promise someday I’ll get to actually writing my Blogger Secret Santa post, and Maddie I promise I’m appreciative and everything, but I swear I have a really good reason for not writing it yet: it has been raining/commute hell since the beginning of January, and it has gotten progressively worse.
The barn flooded last week, somewhat unexpectedly. It rained pretty hard overnight on Monday, but OK, whatever, it’s been raining forever on and off and it doesn’t flood. 15 feet? Fine. It’ll get to 17 and then it’ll stop, or it’ll stop at 19. Remember, last time I decided I wasn’t worrying until 18 or 19 and I’d leave work at 19 if it came to that. Thankfully, my boss understands and we’ve had this conversation already.
texting with my boyfriend Tuesday morning. Red circle = MAJOR FLOOD STAGE
I made it to work on time, obsessively refreshed my river app, and when it hit 19 feet an hour later? I frantically finished up what I could and headed back over the hill to the barn. I already had one set of full rain gear in my car (sturdy rain jacket, snow pants, one pair of rain boots, hat, gloves), thank goodness.
The highway to get to the barn is always a little bit challenging in the rain. Here are the CHP photos of what I drove past on the way to the barn Tuesday morning. That pile of dirt on the left of the photos? Those are the northbound lanes. I was driving south, past the upside-down truck that was flipped over the divider by the slide. That is exactly as terrifying as it sounds. I made it through before they closed the highway completely a few hours later.
This was the flooded intersection by the barn.
I drove through this twice: once on auto-pilot heading towards the barn, and realizing too late that I wanted to park closer to home. I turned around and went straight back through to park on higher ground closer to the house. If it was still flooded, or heaven forbid flooded more, later in the day? I wanted to be able to get home. Then I walked across the intersection and got water in my rain boots. It really was that deep. I didn’t think that through very well.
Normally, the river isn’t noticeable from the road to the barn. This time, it was very, very noticeable.
Bless all the friends who checked on Fetti for me before I arrived: Funder who confirmed that Fetti was safe earlier in the morning, and a friend’s daughter who moved Fetti to the center barn – on higher ground – shortly before I arrived. Her whole paddock was water, but the matted stall stayed dry.
Apparently I cope with crisis by minimizing. It’s only a lot of puddles! Well – when the puddles have a current, it’s flooded. Also, when you can’t really see the ground at all.
Polite ponies sharing (until later they didn’t)
We moved all the horses to higher ground in parking lots, largely tied to trailers, and hung out there for a while. Eventually the water started to recede. Some horses went home. It’ll be fine! Others of us made the executive decision to move our horses to boarding barns or private homes. The Haffies moved to flood-camp again, and I am ever so grateful to my friend for taking Fetti in again despite things not being quite set up for her. With more rain on the way, we just didn’t know if it might flood again later in the evening, and evacuating at midnight didn’t sound very appealing. Or evacuating later in the week, with closed roads and no way to get there!
Ponies were at flood camp all week and moved back home over the weekend.
It’s good to be home.
I wish I could say I did lots with her, but.. that brings us to part two: commute from hell.
The slide on the highway remains there. It normally takes me an hour or so to get to work with a bit of traffic. They are allowing traffic through, one lane each way. It’s currently a 2-3 hour drive and getting worse as all the mountain detours literally fall apart.
Road? What road? Drone video of one collapse.
Another popular current detour? Dropped 2 feet, now closed indefinitely.
My best current commute time is about an hour and a half on windy mountain roads. I suspect they’ll slide with the rains tomorrow and I’ll be back to either the main road (if it stays clear, super questionable) or a loooong detour around. Either way, looking at probably 3+ hours. This makes me cranky, means I’m getting home late, all my current pony time is via headlamp, and I’m waking up super early in vain efforts to try to get to work on time. Yes, I have places I can stay closer to work. I may well be doing that soon.
I love my forest and my mountains. I would be a lot happier if I could stop stressing about “can I get home” every day.
I would be even happier if I could get on the horse every once in a while.
Oh, and at least one of our main trails needs serious repair work due to the flooding, too. Woo, floods! California has had enough rain, can we stop now?!
But I am not up north in Oroville where they have major catastrophic problems, we just have cranky commuter problems. Stay safe, y’all.