In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Redwall Cavern Waterfalls

Here is a video that shows a tremendous downpour that occurred while a river trip was stopped at Redwall Cavern this summer. The monsoon has been awesome this year in Arizona! This one storm captured on video kind of sums it up.

The lighting is washed out in some instances here and it is 5 and half minutes long. But the best and strongest waterfalls are after the video has played for awhile. Be patient and enjoy!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Riding the Crest of a San Juan River Summer Monsoon Flood

Last week I got to run the San Juan River in Utah for four days with friends. The drive up was spectacular with bursts of rain falling everywhere along the way. In the drive from Mexican Hat to Bluff, every side stream was full of red, silty runoff. Then, on Friday, August 24, we arrived at the put-in and witnessed the crest of flood coming down the San Juan. A dozen basketballs were on their way to the Powell Reservoir. Unfortunately, my camera was in the shop and I did not get to take any photo's. But my friend Toni took a few pictures of the fantastic scenery found along the river.

Here is the hydrograph for the river during our run. The date is labeled on the bottom. The pink line traces the level of the river in cubic feet per second (cfs) at a point along the river near Mexican Hat. So the pink line includes discharge from Chinle Creek, which was flooding very large when we floated by. The green line marks the level of the river near Farmington and you can see that it is straight-lined through the whole event, meaning that most of the flood water came into the river downstream from there. The red line is the Four Corners gauge and some floodwater had entered the river by then. The big pink spike shows the input from drainages between Four Corners and Mexican Hat. We rafted the river until August 27, when the pink line approaches the pre-flood stage. We rode the crest of a wave!

All photo's by Toni Kaus. A view of the Comb Ridge monocline as it upturns strata. Note the obvious river terrace cut through the upturned strata. This terrace lies about 150 feet above the modern channel, meaning that it likely has cut down that much in about 100,000 years.

Meanders of the San Juan downstream near the mouth of Chinle Wash. The Mule Ear, an upturned spike of Wingate Sandstone is visible in the upper left.

View of Comb Wash in flood beneath the Comb Ridge monocline

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hottest Rain Ever Recorded on Planet Earth - Needles, California, August 13, 2012

Earlier this year, Mecca, Saudi Arabia tied a record for hottest rainfall ever recorded. On June 5, rain began to fall in that city that was 109 degrees F - the same as the outside air temperature. This tied a record from Morocco in June, 2010. It is unusual for rain to be so hot because hot temperatures usually require high pressure which precludes rain. But this record was not to stand for very long. You can read about this event and its making here at Jeff Master's blog.

Just 2 months and one week later, the record in Morocco and Saudi Arabia was shattered by Needles, California when rain fell on August 13 that was 115 degrees F. The air temperature at the time in Needles was 118 degrees F, tying the record for that date. Most of the rain evaporated and just a trace was recorded. But it shows that extreme weather events are happening. You can read about this event here, again at Jeff Master's blog site.

The weather just keeps getting more interesting all of the time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Economic Value of the Colorado River

President Barack Obama will visit Grand Junction Colorado this week and likely see the Colorado River as it flows through this beautiful Colorado Plateau city. A business person from Grand Junction recently wrote an excellent 'Letter to the Editor' at the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper. In it he noted what the intrinsic value of the Colorado River is relative to other Fortune 500 companies. Here is the letter in its entirety:

Monday, August 6, 2012

President Asked to Remember the Importance of the Colorado River

My job depends on the Colorado River, so when President Obama arrives in Grand Junction this week, I’ll be listening closely to see what the president’s plans are to protect this economic lifeline for the Grand Valley, our state and the entire Southwest.

Every year a population 2.2 times greater than the entire Denver metropolitan area descends upon the river and its tributaries in Colorado to recreate, leaving a trail of $6.4 billion behind in exchange for hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, rafting trips and countless other products and services.

In fact, if the Colorado River were a company, it would be the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500 and rank ahead of companies such as General Mills, US Airways and Progressive Insurance.

But without the leadership of President Obama and the adoption of conservation measures, we won’t always be able to rely on the river to create jobs and support our tax base. Years of drought paired with large population increases across the West have taken a severe toll on the river, and now more water leaves the Colorado River than enters it each year.

If we stay on our current course, the Colorado River will slow to a trickle. And so, too, will the tourism dollars flowing into our state, the profitability of our outdoor recreation economy, our jobs and our current way of life.

Mr. President, if you remember one thing from your visit it should be: The Colorado River is good business for Colorado.

Adventure Bound River Expeditions
Grand Junction

This letter makes good sense to me. Let's hope that in the future the recreational value of the Colorado River plays a more visible role in economic and environmental decisions. Oil and gas, uranium, and potash are not the only economic drivers in our region.