The water level in the Creek after the rain last week was about 1 foot higher than a couple of days before that and 2 feet higher than several weeks ago. It hasn’t been this high since the spring of 2020. But, it’s still not at the same level as the prolonged high water during the record wet years of 2018 and 2019.
The flood last week did impact the electric fences that cross the channel. Although the water is slowly dropping this week, it’s still pretty high. The drought index has improved a lot in our immediate area. However, that doesn’t mean that the drought is “over”. Things will continue to change. And, one of the things that changes is the view of a big boulder in the main Creek channel.
This is what the high water looked like last week. Earlier this summer the rock hid in tall green grass that was growing in front of it. But, the grazing took down that grass cover so the rock was visible again. Then the rains hit and the Creek rose, but it didn’t cover the boulder. The closer shot on the right was taken yesterday. The high-water line is marked by the top of the white area, which is probably scum left by the flood. Also, there’s a distinctive knob on the top of the rock that we’ll see again in earlier photos when the Creek bank was much closer to the boulder.
This is what the rock looked like last year. You can really see that distinctive top and the high channel bank behind it has some vegetation, even though there’s no grass in front of the rock like there was this year. There’s a pretty wide gap between the top of the rock and the edge of the bank. The 2019 photo on the right is taken from a different angle to show where the rock is relative to the high bank. The gap is smaller and the bank is closer. But not too many years before that, the rock was completely hidden because the whole thing was buried in the bank. The years of high water have totally exposed the rock that hides.
In 2017 the bank was close enough so that soil slumping off the steep slope could partially cover the rock. Gravity was doing its job. The 2016 photo on the right shows the rock only barely immerging from the dirt. You can’t see the distinctive knob on top at all. It’s hard for the rock to stay hidden because everything is dynamic. The grass grows but then is grazed down. The water levels come up but then drop back down. Even the dirt in the channel bank seems to conspire to expose the rock that tries to hide. The channel bank erosion described in a post last summer makes it look like the rock is moving. But, it’s just hiding and everything else is moving.
In addition to the rock that hides, there are rocks along the Creek that actually do move. During spring floods ice rafts will carry boulders from upstream. They probably erode out of a high bank and drop onto the ice raft to take a ride. Then when the ice melts the rock is left in a new location. That’s most likely the story for the rock on the left; the white object on it is a jackknife for scale. The rock that hides is located near where we found the boulder that became Brother Bob’s headstone. It’s another example of a rock that moved.
There’s also another rock hiding in the stream sediments just around the bend from the one described in this post. The location is close to where we think the homesteaders’ dugout was located. It’s not visible these days, but I remember that it wasn’t hiding in 1970. There are some old photos showing it back in the 1940s, I think. Someday that hidden rock will reemerge as the channel erodes over to that rock’s hiding place.
Catchy title and great photos to go with your story. Interesting read!