Friday, August 26, 2016

FR181/American Spring Road After Stormy Night

Even though the skies over the mountains looked stormy this morning and I didn't start from home until 10:30am, I decided to take a chance and walk FR181/American Spring Road. I'm really glad I did as it was interesting to get a hint at what the weather must have been up here last night.  Hail remnants hadn't yet melted from under trees and the road puddles were more numerous and vaster than ever!

Here's a shady area at the beginning of upper FR181/American Spring Road where the hail hasn't yet melted. I suspect the weather up here last night was wilder than in town! I heard thunder last night when I went to bed but don't think we got any rain. From the size of the road puddles and the water runoff in upper Water Canyon, which FR181 crosses, the area saw some nice rainfall last night.

This is looking downstream into upper Water Canyon where the road bends around to cross the canyon. I often see Armstead Spring running (rusty pipe to the right) but don't remember ever seeing the road culvert running. The road culvert is in its pathetically exposed condition because the edge of FR181 has eroded ever backward here since Las Conchas wildfire 2011.

Upstream from Armstead Spring and the road culvert, behind the log weir, Water Canyon has a tiny waterfall! The log weir showed up after the Las Conchas wildfire, maybe to catch and slow down debris from the burned slopes above.

Closer look at the waterfall reveals a short cascade that forms a "pool"! Not very far from here and short of the road,  the water disappears underground but then must somehow be captured by the road culvert even though the culvert is not visible and presumably buried by debris. What else would explain how the culvert is draining storm runoff down Water Canyon? I saw no water running over the road surface. Mysterious plumbing at work!

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