Friday, September 06, 2013

Elbow Falls unrecognizable

Darlene, Olivia and I went out to Elbow Falls on Monday. It was my first look at the popular day trip destination in Kananaskis Country in quite a few years.

En route, we stopped in at a garage sale in Priddis and when they heard we were going to the falls, they warned us that we wouldn't recognize the place.

They weren't kidding. The flood of 2013 really remodelled the place, as it did to pretty much every river or creek sourced in the Rocky Mountains in Canada, at least southern Canada.

Many of the paved paths leading from the parking lot to the original shoreline just ended at a cliff. The raging river in June had eroded much of the park area including most of the picnic area. Picnic tables that had been anchored into the ground with large cement pylons had been left standing in the middle of the destruction like hoodoos. You could see from the erosion how high the water had gotten and I was amazed that they had been able to bring what was left of the park back online in such short order.

The Elbow river had carved a new route through the valley further south and much of the older riverbed was a garbage dump of gravel, trees and flotsam.

But the eye opener was the highway's Elbow Valley bridge leading out to the park. The east end was completely washed out and broken apart. I wish I had been able to stop and take a picture, but it was chaos getting through that valley on the new, one lane, temporary bridge. I found a pic online that at least shows some of the damage.

It's going to be years before that bridge is fixed, or more likely, replaced.

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