Activity Log

Young Women's Retreat

By October 12, 2013 No Comments

October 12, 2013:     10 young women of Austin Youth River Watch had a retreat and sleepover at the EcoHouse.  What was to be the back-up date for our Annual Canoe Camping Adventure (due to rain the previous weekend) became our most successful River Watch Rain Dance ever!  Instead of taking the young women of River Watch canoeing on the Colorado River and camping on an island in the middle of the river, we huddled together inside the EcoHouse, abandoning our tent in the front yard at midnight as 46 mile per hour winds descimated our tent poles and we received 5.5 inches of rain at the EcoHouse in less than 9 hours.  Meanwhile a little further upstream, Barton Creek at the Loop 360 Bridge received a total of 12.7 inches of rain in those same 9 hours, including two separate hours of rainfall totals in excess of 4 inches for each of those two hours.  This mini-rain bomb lead to the first ever missed day of the popular Austin City Limits Music Festival.  We watched the totals come in and the waters rise on Barton Creek, The River, and Onion Creek.  The greatest rise in the water was on Onion Creek flowing at 40,000cfs (cubic feet per second), seconded by the Colorado River rising from around 196cfs to over 28,000cfs.  With the rains behind us, the River Watchers piled into the van and we ventured up Onion Creek to McKinney Falls State Park, where we had just sampled placid waters on the Wednesday preceding the big rains.  As we turned onto FM 973 South on the Eastern side of Bergstrom Airport, we saw the creek flowing at about the width of a football field.  We discussed the fact that people who had built homes close to the water in that neighborhood were getting bought out by local government entities.  And as we discussed the problems of building near a floodplain, we saw one house about 25 vertical feet (one horizontal foot) from the edge of the water.  At McKinney Falls State Park, we joined the crowd of spectators along the rip-roaring flood waters.  We couldn’t get within about 200 feet of our regular monitoring site or even see where the Lower Falls were as huge trees and debris flowed swiftly past.  The River Watchers accepted this, their witnessing the power of water, as the consolation prize for missing out on canoe camping, and they appreciated the experience.

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