My first visit
to a wildly flooding Stillaguamish River was in November
1990. I hiked down the Old Robe Trail to the river. I had a
film camera and ventured down to the tunnels.
The water level had crested and was dropping though it was only a
matter of feet below the old railroad grade. The noise in the narrow
and deep canyon was deafening. There was a big tree in one of the
tunnels. Trees flew by as I looked on from the old grade. It was one of
the most amazing things I
have seen. I had to cross several small creeks on the way in and they
were running inland. A lake formed inland of the railroad grade. Here
are a few photos from that trip. My report and the rest are at the link
I returned to the Old Robe Trail for another big flood in
November 2006. This time the railroad grade was washed out far before
the canyon. The water seemed to be even higher than in 1990. I came
equipped with a digital camera that also took movies. I was
to not be able to reach the canyon but the water went far inland and
the wild river was very impressive. The flood did much damage to the
old railroad grade/trail making it difficult to reach the tunnels even
in summer. This flood did far more damage in the mountains as a lot of
new snow was washed away by waves of warm rain.
After visiting the river I hiked back up to my car and drove down
through Verlot to the bridge over the river near the Mt. Pilchuck Road.
The bridge was closed and part of the bank at the approach was
completely undermined. Chunks of asphalt fell into the river. The
bridge was closed for a time until it could be repaired. Here I and a
host of others could stand over the river and really take in the amount
of water flowing by.
In the summer the river bed is a wide swath of gravel with a narrow
stream down the middle. Now the water was well above the banks and not
all that far below the level of the bridge. It was worth the drive and
standing around in hard rain to see it. The little stream most people
see can turn into a raging torrent under the right circumstances. I
took a few movies of my trip, one which was shown on a local television
station. This second flood visit was just as impressive as the first
one. Here are a couple movies.