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The local river crested for a second time on Thursday, topping out at 17 feet 7 inches. The old timers say the third crest is always the one to watch out for, and that it's still on the way. Others say that no third crest is predicted, but the old timers just shake their heads and smile.
Nobody disagrees that the river is higher than it's been in years, and there are lots of stories being told about the Flood of '72 when the river topped 22 feet and crossed the main highway. Homes were inundated, a chicken house floated down the river and was smashed to smithereens on the bridge, a swimming pool above the flood line still popped out of the ground from the pressure of the rising water table, and people flooded their basements with well water to keep their homes from doing the same thing.
All that came on the third crest.
North of town the river is well out of its banks, flooding fields and pastures.
In town the pylons of the main bridge are out of sight, and all that water rushing under the bridge sounds like a Class 5 rapids.
South of town islands and fields are flooded, and some backyards have water creeping halfway up to the house.
At the bridge where I fish, the water has come up as high as it can without spilling over the bank. This is what it looks like from the top of the bank at normal flows. That's a good ten feet down there. I know, I've fallen down it.
This is what it looked like today. When I took the photo above I was standing just to the right of that tree.
This is what it looks like under the bridge at normal flows.
This is what it looked like today. Interestingly, even if that tree stays where it is when the water recedes, it still won't obstruct the nice run I like to fish, which is on the other side of the pylon.
Across the river the downstream end of the island is almost covered. That's the high end.
I was standing way up there when I took this photo last Fall.
It's reassuring, somehow, to look at that photo. That's the wadeable, fishable river. Seems impossible that all this water now will flow away and levels come back down to this. But it will. All part of the amazing hydrology of this planet, and of the cycles that make it possible for me to catch a Steelhead out of the Pacific Ocean right here at my back door.
But all in it's own good time. Nobody is thinking Steelhead now. We're wondering about that third crest.