Tuesday, May 30, 2017

High Water Across the West: The Humboldt River at Winnemucca and Humboldt Station

When I started putting these photos together—while thinking about our last post about the Humboldt River in Carlin Canyon—I somehow (and quite erroneously) figured I could throw a whole bunch of high-water Humboldt River photos together in one blog post. The thing is, I have way too many, from several different localities and a few different days, and I hope to collect a few more before the water ebbs. So for today, we'll stick with these two spots, which I visited while driving I-80 from Elko to Reno on April 19th. The first shot looks westward toward Blue Mountain from the westbound exit onto West Winnemucca Blvd (exit 176).

The flooding in Winnemucca was really quite extensive when I drove through on April 11th (no photos) and then again on the 19th: several backyards and a few basements or first floors of houses near the defunct "Barrick Arms Apartments" were under water. The water had receded incompletely when I saw it last (May 28th).

These first pics show the Humboldt River's floodplain looking more like a marshy lake than it's usual dry self. Water level was slightly lower on April 19th than when I first saw it on the 11th.
Here's a phone-camera panorama, with Blue Mountain way off on the left and Winnemucca Mountain taking up the right half of the photo.
This Google Maps Street View image, a flashback to 2011, shows a more typical appearance of the same panorama, albeit from October rather than spring.
And just because, I've included a picture centered on Winnemucca Mountain. It's a prominent feature and a landmark for miles and miles. If you look closely, you'll see the two-toned "W" painted on its southeastern slope.

On that same day (the 19th), I pulled off I-80 at Humboldt House (exit 138, marked "Humboldt") and drove old Highway 40 back toward Imlay.
I crudely spliced together two or three photos looking northwest across what I thought was Rye Patch Reservoir.
It turns out that the entirety of the water seen in these photos is contained within the Pitt-Taylor Reservoirs, the Upper and the Lower.
Here we see Majuba Hill behind blue water in the Lower Pitt-Taylor Reservoir. The light beige horizontal line between the water and Majuba are bluffs underlain by Lake Lahontan's Sehoo Formation. A narrow part of Rye Patch Reservoir proper runs between us and those bluffs, but we can't really see it, even though the water is running high.
Here we can see both the Lower and Upper Pitt-Taylor Reservoirs. The Lower is closest to us; the Upper is beyond the horizontal pale beige line separating the two bodies of water. The wide upper part of Rye Patch Reservoir lies not far beyond the Upper Pitt-Taylor, hidden from us by some irregular low hills. Off in the distance, we're looking at pointed, snow-covered King Lear Peak, part of the Jackson Mountains. The 8923-foot-high peak (2720 m) is about 45 miles away.

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