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Water flowing in the desert

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Offline mule ears

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Water flowing in the desert
« on: July 31, 2008, 08:21:31 AM »
With the last two big rain events (Dolly and yesterdays nearly 2") I began to wonder what it takes to make certain washes run with water.  Many of us have seen water running in the stream beds in the mountains and in the washes below the Window and Cattail for example but has anyone here ever seen water running in Blue Creek canyon or lower Juniper?

I have seen water running in the upper reaches of Smoky Creek (along the Dodson and below) and parts of middle Fresno Creek and in Fisk canyon.  All in March 1992 after a very wet year.  I have even seen water clear water trickling down the wash from Trap spring.

How about it, tell us where and when you have seen water running in the desert where it's normally dry.  Was it clear flowing water or a flash flood?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 06:36:24 AM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline billholston

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2008, 10:22:08 AM »
In February, I saw water running in the Smokey Creek Drainage, south from Mule Ears Peaks. We hiked south in the drainage towards a point where the drainage narrowed. There was water flowing and creating a very nice pool: Shots at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14890552@N06/

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Offline Al

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2008, 10:26:45 AM »
I've seen water running for days in the intermittent streams around Elephant Tusk.  It was beautiful clear water.  Reminded me of being in the Rocky Mountains but it was the desert.

Al

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Offline mediopelo

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2008, 02:30:35 PM »
In very wet years, like 1987, I have known Smoky Creek to flow across River Road at the very least for a couple of weeks, and Cottonwood Creek for months across Route 15 (Ross Maxwell Drive) and Route 13. I have seen water continuously for even longer periods--I really believe at least a year--in either Oak Creek or Ash Creek where it crosses Route 14 just east of the turnoff of Route 15 for Castalon.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2008, 03:47:29 PM »
In very wet years, like 1987, I have known Smoky Creek to flow across River Road at the very least for a couple of weeks, and Cottonwood Creek for months across Route 15 (Ross Maxwell Drive) and Route 13. I have seen water continuously for even longer periods--I really believe at least a year--in either Oak Creek or Ash Creek where it crosses Route 14 just east of the turnoff of Route 15 for Castalon.

2007 was a good year for rain in the Chisos, but from Oct 07 until June 08 there was only a few inches of rain. In spite of this, there was still water flowing in Oak Creek, Cottonwood Creek, and Smoky Creek in March of 08.
Not all those who wander are lost.
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Offline jim2

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2008, 06:54:22 PM »
in october 2007 water was flowing above and well below the spring. i had been there two or three times before and not seen water in either of those places. jim2

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Offline mediopelo

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2008, 10:07:33 PM »
A link on the subject of springs that you may not be aware of. This is an article by the person who used to do the spring survey for the park and knows its back country as well as anyone.

http://www.bigbendgazette.com/blog/Archive/Area/BigBendNationalPark/_archives/2007/9/20/3258991.html

There is a little-known spring known as Burns Spring that was flowing for a short distance the only times I visited it, which were during dry weather. It is not shown on maps but is on the spring survey. It is reached by going down the first drainage across Glenn Springs Road past Nugent Mountain Campsite. I forget the precise distance but it is probably over a mile. You will see a sizable lone cottonwood. The water surfaces here, but the spring comes into that draw from the north upstream from the cottonwood and the flowing section is at the source in this feeder draw. There is a dripping spring in the side of the steep wall of the draw between the source and the cottonwood, well concealed by thick brush. 

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Offline Al

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2008, 10:40:56 PM »
Thanks!  Nice resource.  I especially enjoyed reading about Leopold Tinaja.

Al

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2008, 06:22:21 AM »
A link on the subject of springs that you may not be aware of. This is an article by the person who used to do the spring survey for the park and knows its back country as well as anyone.

http://www.bigbendgazette.com/blog/Archive/Area/BigBendNationalPark/_archives/2007/9/20/3258991.html

That's a great article!  Thanks for posting it.  Is John our BibeArch here on the board?  It was the part about doing the breast stroke on Paint Gap Rd. that I really liked and was sort of my original question for this thread.  What would it take (either a single storm or a very wet year) to see water running in Blue Creek canyon for example and has anyone here ever seen such a thing (or any where else in the park).

Keep them coming (and of course for Homero, any pictures of such things too :icon_wink:)
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline bdann

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2008, 09:05:40 AM »
A link on the subject of springs that you may not be aware of. This is an article by the person who used to do the spring survey for the park and knows its back country as well as anyone.

http://www.bigbendgazette.com/blog/Archive/Area/BigBendNationalPark/_archives/2007/9/20/3258991.html
Is John our BibeArch here on the board? 

Nope. 

Very cool article, hadn't seen that one before.  Thanks for posting it. 
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline mediopelo

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2008, 03:38:26 PM »
A link on the subject of springs that you may not be aware of. This is an article by the person who used to do the spring survey for the park and knows its back country as well as anyone.

http://www.bigbendgazette.com/blog/Archive/Area/BigBendNationalPark/_archives/2007/9/20/3258991.html

That's a great article!  Thanks for posting it.  Is John our BibeArch here on the board?  It was the part about doing the breast stroke on Paint Gap Rd. that I really liked and was sort of my original question for this thread.  What would it take (either a single storm or a very wet year) to see water running in Blue Creek canyon for example and has anyone here ever seen such a thing (or any where else in the park).

Keep them coming (and of course for Homero, any pictures of such things too :icon_wink:)
Any long drainage anywhere in the park can become a raging torrent in a matter of minutes, and without any rain falling anywhere in sight. Thus the white flood gauges that you see on the side of the paved roads at low water crossings. Flash floods are a great danger to people camping in washes or trying to drive through water.

I remember one summer driving up Route 16 (the Castal?n-Sta. Elena Canyon Road) behind what turned out to be a Dutch couple. It was a bright sunny day, the breeze stirring up dust, but there had been a thunderstorm back on the slopes of the Chisos. I stopped along the way and this vehicle continued to the canyon and turned back towards Castal?n so that I was behind them on my way back. I came up on them stopped at Alamo Creek where it crosses the road. When we had crossed it minutes before it was dry as a bone but now there was a stream of muddy water more than fifty yards wide flowing across the pavement. I'll never forget the look of astonishment on their faces and the woman asking in accented English "What happened?" I suppose they thought a dam had broken upstream.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Water flowing in the desert
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2008, 09:43:58 PM »
I found one with water flowing down Tornillo Creek near Hot Springs. This photo was taken  Nov 21st 2004.

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
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