Saturday, July 24, 2021

Surface Water

Sandy's Canyon Trail after a night of rain. I was surprised that there was no flowing water in it, but it was humid wonderful.

I went hiking Saturday morning, looking for flowing water. Flagstaff has almost no flowing surface water, although there are some artificial ponds and lakes around, and just one natural lake: Mormon Lake. But the soil is volcanic, and even very heavy rains tend to soak in. And we've had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks. I've seen water flowing down the paved alley behind my house and in other storm drains and flood control structures, but you can't see it much in a natural setting around here.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out. I saw plenty of puddles, but I don't think I saw any flowing water, not even a trickle. I was pretty surprised by this, since rains have been so heavy at my house. But an examination of National Weather Service data indicates that other areas haven't received quite as much, and apparently the volcanic soil once again drank whatever fell.

In Walnut Canyon, you could just see a short segment where water had obviously flowed over the trail. Why wasn't there more water? I think it probably has to do with the proximity to the dams on Upper and Lower Lake Mary. I assume they are retaining water right now to refill the lakes. Lower Lake Mary is still completely empty.


I enjoyed the walking anyway. The grass and ground cover are all green now, the tree trunks refreshed and the lichens look healthy. A light mist floated in front of the ridges and peaks. After two very dry years, it was wonderful.

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