As an archaeologist, my expertise in the cognate field of geology includes fluvial processes, so I know something about floods. And I’ve experienced plenty of floods working in the Hudson and Mohawk river valleys … now that I think of it, I’ve got quite a few good flood stories. But the most significant experience I’ve had with flooding happened in about a foot of water.
It was in the Congo, at Senga, a location I’ve written about before. Our camp was on one side of a wash right where it entered the Semliki River, and the excavation was on the other side of the wash, but since the digging all occurred during the dry(ish) season, that was never an issue. But when the excavation was over, and almost everyone went home, those of us left behind to do our own non-excavation research projects experienced a number of good rains.
One day I had parked the Zodiac on the other side of the dry wash, where it was tied up to a sturdy tree AND pulled fully out of the water. It rained, and I went down to look at the wash to see if it was running, and it was. I realized that the river was rising, so water was lapping at the boat, and the water running into the river from the wash was between me and the vessel. So, I considered crossing the wash to drag the boat farther inland.
Not being a total moron, I first tested the was with a stick to see how deep the water is. If the water was flowing over the surface as I had seen it only that morning, the water could be no more than 12 inches deep. When I stuck the stick into the rushing torrent, I discovered two things: 1) Yes, the water was only about a foot deep and 2) the strength of the water was sufficient to pull the stick out of my hands and drag it at a very high velocity into the river, where it would flow down stream over the rapids, then down the water fall, then into the crocodile infested lake.
I walked the long way around. It took an hour and a half to make it to the boat, and I had to cross through the territories of a pride of lions and a bunch of hyenas, but that was a LOT safer than crossing the one foot deep flood.
And I’m reminded of all of this by this post, which you should visit and read: “I Can Feel The Boulders Rolling”
Do you have a flood story?