Monday, October 15, 2018

Flooded Out: Part 2

Black Hawk Creek flooded over Fletcher Avenue as seen on Saturday
Maybe you remember when I posted about our flooding here at the end of September. (see this post) Back then I was hopeful that we'd clear up the watery mess and have some late Fall riding. Yeah........

So much for that thought!

We have been flooded out pretty much ever since I posted that on September 25th. I had to get something other than gravel travel in, so I saddled up the Ti Mukluk and went to investigate the scene in the Green Belt. Another thing I had been hoping to do was to get the Fall Color ride in, and I always do that in the Green Belt. It is a tradition of mine, for better or worse.

Well, I knew the water would be over the Black Hawk Creek's banks, but you never know where you can ride unless you go check it out. I thought maybe I could scoot around that lake out there, since it wasn't part of the creek itself, so there could be a chance I could ride something there. Off I went and I saw the flooding over Fletcher Avenue. This is where the Green Belt crosses through town on its way to the Cedar River. There are flood gates which can be closed along dikes that run parallel to the creek on either side. The one on the North side was closed, but the Southern one was not, it was only blockaded with barriers. Easy to ride around on you bicycle. So, I took a closer look.

The weird thing about that image is that I am standing on the bridge over the creek, and looking North, so the road actually dips there and when the creek floods, it is the first portion to get flooded.

High and dry riding up on the dike. The flooding can be seen on the right here.
After that I got up on the Southern Dike and rode Southeastward toward the Sergeant Road bike trail. As I was up there on the dike I could see the flood waters lapping at the dike's feet. The Army Corp of Engineers started putting the dikes in this area after a bad flood on the Cedar River in 1961. This dike has weathered several really bad floods, including the record flood of 2008 when the water would have been just down from the top of this dike by only a few feet.

A splash of Fall color at the lake where a few Canadian Geese were taking in the scene.
I reached the lake and immediately saw a small splash of Fall color. It was nice here, but the lake was very high. I wasn't sure I'd get very far, but never know until you try. So I tried.

More Fall color with these sumac bushes all aflame.
Well.......that's as far as I was going to get!
The single track started out running along the top of a small dike built to keep the water from the lake in, instead of pouring all into a lower lying area along Highway 63. If I am correct, I bet that area where the highway was put through was a huge marsh, and this lake was developed to help keep that area beyond it drier. It works, but there is still a few acres of land that are very marshy near the bicycle trail here on Sergeant Road.

The trail runs off that dike then and turns Westward and toward Black Hawk Creek. This is where I ran into a dead end as the flood waters had covered the trail and a dense network of low Cedars was on my right preventing any easy workaround. Further in to the right, just beyond the Cedars is a run which was very flooded, and then beyond that the big flood dike I rode over on. So, no bushwhacking! I was relegated to turning around and heading out the way that I came in.

This was the other way around. No good.
I tried going the other way but it was cut off right as soon as the single track started. I ended up cruising over toward Highway 20, then back on the bike path, and eventually back home again. Foiled but for a tiny bit of dirt and a tiny flash of Fall color. Maybe this will go away sooner than I think, but the latest on the flood is that it won't go below flood stage until this coming Wednesday. Then I would assume it would be a good two weeks before the pools dry up that get left behind, at least enough to make a ride out of things back there. So, yeah...... Fall is about shot.

And it snowed Sunday!


tntmoriv said...

Hi GT, regarding the road being lower away from the bridge: many roads are designed that way, with a sag or dip on one or both sides of larger bridges or culverts.
The sags act as a sort of emergency spillway during flooding, keeping the culvert or bridge area drier and away from damaging flood currents and saturation. The thought is that it is easier, faster, and cheaper, to replace some road surfacing and shoulder fill than it is to repair bridges or replace culverts. You notice it more in the country where the landscape is open and where allowing the flooding of adjacent land is possible. In towns, there are usually homes and such so we try to confine floods to the channels and bridges only. Good observation on your part to notice!

Guitar Ted said...

@Todd Tillinger- Thank you for that detailed explanation of how roads are designed around streams and creeks. I had noted this in the country as well, when riding gravel.

It makes a lot of sense when you understand the reasons why, as you pointed out so well.

Nooge said...

@Todd I am an engineer and I love hearing the rationale behind things. So many people like to look at things and pronounce the designer dumb for doing it that way, when they have no idea the reason why. They like to look at the downside of doing it that way, but never question the why not for the alternates. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in explain to them the reason. Thanks!