Oil Well Flats

20 09 2008

On Thursday we went camping again. Take two, for the BLM, only this time we hoped that our plans wouldn’t be ruined by the 31% chance for rain. After watching the weather like a hawk, with clear skies we decided to begin packing a head in that direction (if the weather changed we would just go home). After packing grey clouds began to roll in, after eating drip drops of very light rain, in the drive-thru to get coffee monstrous scary lightning everywhere but no rain. Once I convinced Webb that, “clearly the weather is quickly moving east and if you look west the skies are clear and the weather will be nice, and please please please let’s at least drive up there.”

We had our spot all picked out, but when we got out there someone was already there parked behind a tree doing God knows what.  So we went about 2 miles further back into the area and found the most awesome campsite ever. We will definitely be returning to this location for future camp-outs.  It’s on the top of a hill over looking the canyon.  Off in the distance to the south you could see some lights from Canon City twinkling in the distance. It had a great fire pit already built and used, flat vegetation-free ground, and a nice little pull in for the car. It was GREAT. When we first arrived it was raining (barely). Enough to make us re-think our decision, but it stopped right after we got the tent set up and the fire lit. The only drawback was that it was almost too quiet at night, and every sound was the sound of a bear or mountain lion contemplating ripping open the tent and having a midnight snack.

This is where the tent was, actually very comfortable.

This is where the fire-pit was, very cozy, and you could sit on the big rock to the left.

The sun was shining so brightly that Webb couldn’t open his eyes to see who he was waving to.


First REAL thunderstorm

16 08 2008

Okay, so a clear theme on this blog is the weather. i can’t help it, it is so different here. Last night was what I consider our first REAL thunderstorm in Colorado. There was even a Severe Thunderstorm Warning…exciting!!! At 4am we woke up (I almost always sleep through thunderstorms) to the tap-tap-tttap of hail on the windows and roof. The hail actually lasted for over 2 minutes, long enough to lay in bed, realize what that noise was, marvel at its intensity, get freaked out by the increased intensity, get out of bed and look out the windows and then discover our ceiling leaking on the carpet. NICE…so a perfunctory call to the landlord was made, because HELLO leaking ceiling!!! Don’t worry though, based on the charming water damage spots in the ceiling I knew it was only a matter of time before the ceiling collapsed on us and placed furniture away from the offending spots. One day I will post about all the problems we have had with this house. Thank god for renter’s insurance.

There was enough hail to pile up in places so that it almost looked like snow…in August, shoot me now. The hail was only pea-sized, maybe two peas-sized, coupled with an actual downpour and sufficient lightning. Sorry no photo, I was pretty much focused on making sure we weren’t going to die or suffer property damage, and getting back into bed.

One of the major differences here, is the after-effects of 1-2 inches of rain. Actually even a much lower amount. Because there is no grass, trees, etc. There is a real problem with flash-flooding. Now of course we have that back home, with the occasional creek over-topping its banks, maybe your basement gets flooded or a low lying road is blocked. But out here it is a lot faster, and seem a lot more dangerous. The other day a very small rainstorm washed out an entire roadway near here. Every open field has deep ditch/canyons called arroyos that snake across the land, heck we even have a mini-ditch that runs though our front yard. It’s just that water comes fast and doesn’t have anywhere to go. Plus all the mountains…that too. I will take pictures next time I get a chance.

After all that WHINING…

6 08 2008

So yesterday I complained about how we never get rain here in the High Desert region of S. Colorado. Today there are actually rainclouds showing up on doppler and a flood warning…

August 6, 2008 Doppler.  Canon makes a triangle with Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

August 6, 2008 Doppler. Canon makes a triangle with Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

A flood statement

A flood statement - The urban and small stream flood advisory for minor flooding due to heavy runoff and ponding of water remains in effect until 4:15pm MDT for East Central Fremont County.

Don’t be fooled, around here there can be a flash flood and no rain. Of course, the Ohio River can do this as well, but usually you get a bit of an advance warning. Now, 4:15 is only 2 hours away, and I haven’t seen any rain or indication of rain (we’ll see what happens).

Rain: Such a Tease

5 08 2008

Today while waiting in the lobby of the Driver’s License office I had a conversation with a rancher from east of town. We started talking about the weather here and how it never rains. Apparently, though not surprisingly, there’s been a drought here for the last nine years. NINE YEARS!!!

Which brings me to the fact that…it never really rains here. One of the most frustrating things about living here is rain. There is lots of lightning and thunder and the occasional sprinkle, but serious ground soaking rains just never seem to happen.

The worst is when you can SMELL the rain, you can see the thunderclouds and the rain coming down off in the distance. It’s coming right for you, and then somehow it doesn’t rain. Or even better, it just rains a few sprinkles on the sidewalk that evaporate immediately and then speeds on out of town.

It has heartlessly threatened to rain here for several days, but still nothing…it actually started to rain here about 10 minutes ago and it’s already stopped. The areas under the trees aren’t even wet and it’s already over. The flip side of this whole complaint is that it is VERY sunny here most of the time and the evenings are enjoyable. Last night after the sun went down we went to get ice cream at Baskin Robbins and sat outside. It was the perfect temperature.

Since I haven’t put up pictures in awhile, here’s a view as you come into town…the big hill/mountain that you see is where Skyline Drive is located.

Oh… I forgot about Wildfires

30 07 2008

So today while hanging out in the local coffee shop Canon City Cafe the subject of rainfall came up. Now for those of you who have never lived out West (including me) it is hard to relate to the awed looks I receive when i recite that Louisville gets maybe 46 inches of rain a year. Jaw-dropping would be a good way to describe the reaction, not a “no way you’re lying!” reaction more of an “are you serious?” reaction. You need to understand that they get about 12 inches of rain a YEAR here and right now we are short 5 inches of rain due to a drought… so 7 inches of rain for 2008.

Back to the subject, apparently just over the “hill” there was a wildfire burning TODAY. Follow the link to the story… Wildfire near Canon City . You could see the smoke coming over the mountains. Now it ONLY burned up 20 acres, but still…you.could.see.the.smoke!!! So I said as an afterthought, “hope it doesn’t burn down our houses.” To which Kate replied in all seriousness, “Yeah, I hope not.”

Now as an update, no structures are threatened and the fire is contained, so nothing to worry about, but still a pretty solid glimpse into life out West…fires burning down your house…