McKittrick Canyon

2013 Addendum

Damage/Changes after the 12 September flood

First and second McKittrick Creek crossings with water,  before reaching the Pratt Cabin

In 2010, I crossed the place where, every time I have entered this canyon since then, there has always been water in McKittrick Creek.

There were warning signs saying do not walk in the water since this is an area where the rock-surface under the water is very fragile.

I believe the risk of disturbing that rock layer with heavy footsteps could change the flow in this part of the creek, allowing it to go underground here.

In May of 2013 I revisited this crossing and it looked like this:

The 12 September 2013 flood ripped that fragile creek-bottom out by its roots.  What is left now is just a small stream that disappears underground just before the previous crossing made with stones.

Some of the previous creek bottom is lying at the bottom now, surrounded by deep gravel:

Note the height of the flood here, as indicated by the debris wrapped around the tree on the right:

Click here to see just one part of this flood on YouTube as it exits the canyon, where it is usually bone dry (but be sure and come back).

The trickle coming from upstream happily gurgles into this loose gravel and disappears:

Will this creekbed recover?  No, not in my lifetime.  The processes that sealed the previous creek bed, saturated water running leisurely in the sun and evaporating, will take decades.  The creek here has been changed.  But look again at my other McKittrick Canyon pages, linked above and on the next couple of pages.  These few changes are unfortunate acts of nature, but they do not detract from the overall beauty of the canyon.

Beyond this crossing and before reaching the Pratt Cabin there is another crossing that usually has water.  I do not have photos of my previous crossing here, but this time was impressed by the height of the flood here (look at the debris wrapped around some of the trees by the flood) and the amount of water still running.  The person paying attention to his footing is Phil T., who agreed to do this hike with me.  He practiced patience staying with me at my slow pace!

What was interesting here was the debris on the trees, which was at a height I was barely able to reach, suggesting this area saw water flowing through at a depth of more than 6 feet (> 2 meters)!

Although the flooding came through here with a vengeance, little has really changed in terms of this location's scenic value.

Go to the next 2013 Flood Addendum Page

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Go Back to the 2013 Yearbook Page if that is the page that brought you here.

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