Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Talking About The Oso Landslide I Learned My Mom's Washington Memory Is Better Than Mine

A couple days ago my mom called, apparently erroneously thinking I'd not called in a sufficiently recent time frame.

During the course of talking to my mom the subject of the Oso Landslide in our old home state of Washington came up.

At the point in time where my mom and I were talking about the Oso Landslide it was only a couple days old and at the point in time the fatality numbers had not reached the dozen point, nor had the projected number of fatalities reached the current projected number of well over 100.

When I first learned of the Oso Landslide, the day it happened, I thought the name sounded familiar and thought it was one of the small towns one drives through on Highway 2 when one heads over Stevens Pass to Eastern Washington. I was erroneous.

Mom told me she thought Oso was on the Stillaguamish River, upriver from Arlington. I said to mom, isn't the Stillaguamish the river that runs beside Highway 2 on the west side of Stevens Pass? Mom told me she thought that was the Skykomish River. That then had me confused as to whence the Snoqualmie River flows from and to.

I lamented with mom that after 15 years of being away from Washington,  I am losing memory of places and routes and, apparently, rivers. Mom told me it gets worse when one gets older.

After I got off the phone I opened up my Microsoft Map program to quickly learn my mom was right regarding river locations. So, even though mom claims the memory woes get worse as one gets older, mom remembered better than me the river locations in question.

I was more than a little surprised to see where Oso is actually located, as in how close it is to my old abode in Mount Vernon, as in only about 22 miles distant, as you can see via the screen cap above, with the thick black line drawing the route from my house to Oso.

I think the last time I took this particular route was with nephew Joey. We had gone mountain biking at a location the name of which I can not remember, then drove east to Lake Cavanaugh, then over the logging road mountain pass that eventually drops down into the Stillaguamish River Valley and the little town of Oso.

This Oso Landslide is by far the worst natural disaster to hit the Pacific Northwest since Mount St. Helens erupted over 30 years ago. If the worst case scenario turns out to be accurate, the Oso Landslide will result in more fatalities, by far, than the Mount St. Helens eruption.

I need to use Google Earth to do some virtual driving in Washington. I am totally drawing a blank as to the route I would have taken, multiple times, to Granite Falls and the Mountain Loop Highway, with that loop being looped a lot of times, hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing. And yet I can not remember the route from I-5 to Granite Falls. If I remember right the Mountain Loop Highway loop goes from Darrington back to Arlington via Highway 530, passing Oso a short distance from Darrington.

I need to spend a month in Washington doing some road tripping.....


Steve A said...

If the fatalities approach 100, it will be far worse than St Helens in which 57 died. We shall see how it compares with the greatest natural disaster (also in Snohomish County) - the Wellington Avalanche, where 96 were killed.

Durango said...

Steve A, the first husband of one of my best friends from high school wrote a historical novel about the Wellington Disaster, titled Vis Major. I blogged about this on my Washington blog...

The Wellington Avalanche: Most Deadly in U.S. History