Monday, September 3, 2012

Spencer Jack Getting Wet Thinking About The Skagit River Vision

Click here for info about the May 23, 2013 I-5 Skagit River Bridge Collapse.

This morning, in my email box, there was incoming from Spencer Jack's dad, my nephew, Jason, with the email's subject line being "42 Days Without Rain Leaves Skagit River Near Empty."

In the picture on the left that is Spencer Jack playing in the near empty Skagit River.

In the picture you can sort of see how clear and clean the Skagit River is. With no rain falling, the water in the river would be coming from the melting snowpack and glaciers high in the Cascade Mountains.

Those looking at these pictures, whose closest river is the Trinity River, please make note of the fact that you see no litter floating in the Skagit River.

If the Trinity River is ones main river frame of reference, one might wonder, if this is the Skagit River being almost empty, what is it like when the river runs with a normal flow.

Well, it really does not look all that much different.

I can not tell which bridge Jason is letting Spencer Jack play under. The I-5 bridge? Or is it the downtown Mount Vernon bridge? If that is where Spencer is in the river, well, it really is running low.

In the second picture I know for sure the bridge in the foreground is the I-5 bridge because I see the new bridge that connects Mount Vernon to Burlington behind it.

The Skagit River has what is known as a current. As in the water in the river moves. In downtown Mount Vernon the Skagit River is only a few miles from where it empties into Puget Sound. When the tide runs high the saltwater acts as a dam, slowing up the Skagit River, when the tide runs low the Skagit River speeds up.

I was in a small motor boat, years ago, launched near downtown Mount Vernon, going with the flow of the river, towards the Sound. The motor died. We had rows. The tide changed, the river started moving fast. I don't recollect ever struggling harder to get something to move. Eventually we made it to the river's bank.

Okay, in the last picture I can clearly tell where Spencer Jack is, in the Skagit River, because I can faintly see the Downtown Mount Vernon Tulip Tower in the background to the left of Spencer.

With the Tulip Tower on the other side of the river that would put Spencer Jack in West Mount Vernon. To the north of Spencer, with the river this low, there would be a huge sandbar, likely with a lot of people fishing from it. If I am remembering correctly.

Standing under the Downtown Mount Vernon Skagit River Bridge is something I don't recollect ever seeing before. So, the river really is running low.

I wonder why Mount Vernon does not have a Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float on the Skagit River, like Fort Worth does on the filthy Trinity River? I can think of one reason. The Skagit River water is cold. Like I said above, the water comes from a melted source.

Downtown Mount Vernon currently has its own version of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. Only the Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision is not a boondoggle. Unlike the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle the Skagit River Vision is an actual needed flood control project. A flood wall is being built to protect downtown Mount Vernon from a Skagit River flood. Part of the project will be a Mount Vernon Riverwalk.

The Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision is well underway and will be completed, I think, by next year. There are no wakeboard parks as part of the Skagit River Vision. And no local congresswoman's unqualified son is employed to oversee the Skagit River Vision.

Several Hours After The Above Was Written....

I logged into Facebook to see that Spencer Jack's dad had Facebooked a picture of Spencer Jack that he did not email me this morning. This picture would have alleviated me of my confusion as to what bridge Spencer was under. In this picture Spencer Jack is on the Skagit River Bridge that connects Downtown Mount Vernon to West Mount Vernon.

To those reading this for whom the Trinity River is your local river, does it appear to you that the Skagit River, as it flows by Downtown Mount Vernon, is bigger than the fabled, ever shrinking, Town Puddle, that is one of the key parts of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, giving Fort Worth its long desired waterfront?

I wonder why the Skagit River is that nice blue color, whilst the Trinity River is currently a jade shade of green? Even with a blue sky overhead.


Marie said...

Hey, Durango! These pics make my heart soar. I lived in Everett for a time, so I know Mount Vernon well. I'm going to guess that western Washington's rivers have an advantage in their pristine source - in many cases that would be the Cascades. That and maybe glacial dust add to the exquisite color - again just my guess. It could also be that they are, for the most part, CLEAN - but I'm really going out on a limb there. I can't tell if the river is low, but I visited Lake Travis last year before I moved here - now THAT was low. Well, every place has it's blessings and curses - and drought is a terrible curse. This post made me smile - a nice change from all the forehead wrinkling caused by the litter I see all around the DFW area. Many thanks!

Durango said...

Howdy Marie---Lake Travis in Texas?

I dunno if the water color is glacially caused. I recollect staying in Tacoma in 2004, high up in an apartment with a good view of Commencement Bay. After a couple hot days one morning I woke up to look out the window at the bay to wonder what was causing the weird arc of color that looked as if someone had dropped a lot of paint into the bay. I was to soon learn it was caused by the warm temps melting the snow and glaciers on Mount Rainier, flowing into the Puyallup which flows into Commencement Bay.

Regarding the litter, after you've done a couple years without leaving Texas and then go some place like Colorado or Washington you think to yourself something does not seem right. And then you realize, there is no litter everywhere.