Pineview Falls at a nice juicy flow
“47 foot snow drift reported by crew clearing Longdraw Road! We’ve requested pictures…”
Quadruple overhead. “That’s a damn BIG wall of snow isn’t it? It’s the end of May right?”
Near the top of Cameron Pass the snow wasn’t just still double overhead, it had just been added to. Things were shaping up to be epic. The snow water equivalent (snowpack reading) was 209% of normal. Snow was still falling deep into May and there was already more snow than had ever before been recorded in the Poudre drainage. The talk was of how big and how soon. Six foot, seven foot, eight foot flood! Daylight come and me want a big flood.
If things got hot quickly the sand bags were gonna have to come out and some people were going to need to be evacuated. Which is kind of what we were hoping for. Nothing malicious but a fresh seven foot mark was painted on the old Pineview Gauge rock and everyone was grabbing their nuts in anticipation.
Austin Woody Rocket Launching – photo Frenchy
ES crossing in Cyclotron, Spencer Heights – photo Frenchy
Marty, ES and Austin in Boneyard, Spencer Heights – photo Frenchy
And then it just stayed cold up high. The snow started to melt but not in one great flood. The dark roast coffee colored waters slowly, patiently, rose to meet the high water marks on the banks. The boating went from good to great, the fun rock was covered and EVERYTHING was in by June 2nd when the Poudre crossed the magical 3.75 mark. On June 5th it was 4.5 ft. On June 6th it was 4.9 ft and it didn’t fall below the 4.5 mark until July 20th!
ES rolling into Pineview Falls with the gauge rock visible in the background – photo Spencer Mauk
Over six weeks of high water paddling on the Poudre. You just can’t beat that. Many years the Poudre barely crosses the 4 foot mark before descending back into the mediocrity of flows in the 3 foot range. The river never truly got out of control but it was high for sooooo long. It peaked on July 1st overnight at around 6 feet. Instead of an ultra high peak the river hung out in the 5 foot range for over a month! I would trade a few days of off the charts flooding for a month of high water any year, and 2011 was the year we got it. The perfect run-off.
Cheers to another great season on your home river and go ahead, pray for the perfect runoff, because it’s out there, and if you believe, it might just visit you one year.