Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Bear Creek Lake - Post-flood Edition

In an earlier post after the recent Colorado floods, I visited Bear Creek Lake, and made statements that even I thought were kind of crazy, about huge trees being almost submerged by water, and so on. This afternoon I returned for a run and explored the park in some detail, and found out that my impressions were pretty accurate.

First, I encountered a place where Bear Creek had chosen an entirely new route. This used to be a green meadow, with the trail going from lower right to the middle of this photo. It is now a branch of Bear Creek. The old location of the creek is off-screen to the right:

Notice the horizontal markings on the trees? Those are not shadows, those are "bathtub rings" from the flood. The high water mark is just below the green crown of the tree in the middle. From there on down, leaves were either mud-covered or dead. That's got to be at least 100 feet of water:

Here's another shot where you can see how high the water rose. Those are not small trees:

High water mark is visible on the huge cottonwood on the left. And -- that tree is not even next to the creek; it's uphill from the low point:

The shore was simply eroded away from the base of this tree, exposing its roots:

On a more pastoral note, the elm and cottonwood colors are still great:

Distance was 9.10 miles, time 1:53 (moving 1:31), elevation gain/loss 351 feet, avg. pace 12:30 (moving 10:00), and best pace 7:03.

I am beginning my winter schedule of leaving work around 4 PM to go run, then finishing up work remotely from home. I really don't want to spend too much time in the dark this winter, it's just boring. And I'm not a very good early riser...


  1. I ran some of those trails last week. I came over a crest, and bam, I just stood still staring at those trees. Simply amazing. Beautiful - and not.

  2. Peter - I'd never seen anything like it.

  3. Wow - simply wow on those trees.