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Dunbar Brook, After The Flood. November 20, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: , ,

Dunbar Brook comes down from the high country of Monroe, spilling into the Deerfield river.

This past summer season it swallowed all Tropical Storm Irene offered it and transformed into a raging torrent, eating its banks, sucking in miles of forested terrain and clogging the culvert at River Road, then finding a way around, blowing out the road and stranding the little community of Monroe Bridge.

They weren’t entirely cut off, as the road over the hills through Rowe survived, but were nonetheless cut off from the south in an impressive display of the power of Nature Scorned.

I hiked up the Dunbar Brook trail on Saturday, cataloging the devastation in my mind but leaving my camera tucked away.  Innumerable stretches of the river were laced with a thick cloak of fallen trees, the water below barely visible.  Without some fiduciary incentive to removing this mess, I expect it will stay in place until it rots.

And I’m not entirely decrying that outcome; Irene was an Act Of Nature, even if our carbon-spewing civilization contributed to the mix.  It’s just that I’m mourning the transformed visage of a stream which had come to grips with its surroundings, settled down, grew moss in all of it’s damp niches and smoothed the rough edges to produce the landscape I’ve  been rediscovering through my photographic eye these past few years.

I hiked an hour upstream past snags of uprooted trees and unfamiliar gravel bars until I came to a place where some semblance of my old stomping grounds sat knee-deep in the flow of the present, and for old time’s sake, snapped these two photos off.

Dunbar Brook, just about like it used to be:

…but with the addition of a tiny cairn atop the prominent pointed rock in the background.

Hey, Life Sucks, And Then You Die, unless you leave a mark.  So I’m good with that little cairn.

A bit upstream, the flow was a bit less braided, tumbling through a narrow channel to produce this view:

It’s difficult to imagine this little stream doing the damage it wrought downstream, but as we move farther from the norm of the past, we had better get used to it and be prepared to deal with it.

That’s all for now.  Good night, my faithful visitors.



1. jomegat - November 20, 2011

That last shot must be more of Elliot’s work. Very nice.

2. littlebangtheory - November 20, 2011

j, I thought of you most of the way on this hike: there were several groups of men and boys camped along the trail / brook. I actually wondered if you might be there! It was a beautiful day, and you would have loved being there. Turned out they were Boy Scouts from Eastern Massachusetts.

And hey, I know what you mean about that last shot, but actually I took it with my 16-35mm lens. I was blown away by the depth of field, but that’s what good glass gets ya.

jomegat - November 20, 2011

I figured that the surest way to be wrong about it being Elliot was to guess that it was in writing. 😉

My group is mostly girls this year. We’re done camping until April now, unless I can talk them into camping in the snow later. We might try it, but it will be close to a heated building in case that’s too intense!

3. littlebangtheory - November 20, 2011

Yeah, it takes decent sleeping bags and pads to sleep out in winter, and that’s an investment. It’s hard to expect parents to prioritize such things these days. The heated building nearby is definitely a plus!

jomegat - November 21, 2011

If we do it, we will build an igloo (or more properly, a quinzee). I spent the night in one we built in the backyard once. The kids gave up before dawn, but I stuck it out. It was 12 degrees outside that night, but 20 degrees warmer inside the igloo, and 55 degrees warmer in the house.

4. littlebangtheory - November 21, 2011

I’ve spent many nights in snow caves and quinzees, and of the two, I prefer the cave if the snow is deep enough. Pre-piled, pre-sintered, pre-settled. Of course, deep enough pockets aren’t that common, so I always bring a shovel. 🙂

Enjoy it if you go!

5. Craig Brandon - November 23, 2011

Dear Little Bang Thoery:

I love your posts about Hurricane Irene and I would very much like to include them in a book my business is publishing about the damage from the storm. You can check the mock-up of the cover and more information about the book at http://surrycottagebooks.com.
Then, please contant me at editor (at) surrycottagebooks.com so we can chat about adding your blog to the book! Thanks, Craig Brandon.

6. susan - November 23, 2011

I’m sure you passed a lot of wreckage on the way but your shots of the upper reaches in late autumn are still very beautiful. Big plans may sound transformational but the truth is we’re a race better suited to muddling through. I may have to think about that a bit more and extrapolate on the idea.

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