Off the Map: Week four, washed up

Just when I thought the monsoon thunderstorm was finally ending, a surge of foamy water rushed down the road in front of me, skating across the surface of the already-flooded streets of Loa, Utah. From the safety of the town park pavilion, I watched as this fresh intruder filled the avenue to capacity and began pouring over the curbs. The water pressed greedily up against the back doors of several buildings, searching for a way inside. Even the closest trashcans were caught up in the excitement and began to drift with the current, amiably enjoying their brief transformation into seaworthy vessels.



Soon enough, highway workers arrived on the scene wielding shovels and sandbags to try and divert their watery foe. But the surge was already starting to subside. The waves created by a speed bump in the middle of the road diminished in height until I deemed it was safe enough to venture out onto the highway once more.

A ridiculous amount of rainfall had poured out from the sky in the last few hours, and every ditch and gully had struggled to meet the demand. In nearby Capitol Reef National Park, flash floods were still scouring the slot canyons clean of organic life. I had planned on doing some canyoneering in Capitol Reef that afternoon, but a visit to Las Vegas had put me a day behind schedule, and inadvertently may have saved my life. If Id been dumb enough to enter the canyons while those thunderstorms were building overhead, I would have been caught in the rising waters and bashed to pieces against the sandstone walls before I had time to even think about escaping.


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