[Tweeters] One Exciting Bore

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Mar 16 16:42:09 PDT 2014

Barb Deihl's post about the Israel flashflood reminded me of an experience I had once in our general neighborhood.

First note, watching the video Barb sent, was that I immeadiately catagorized the people in the video as that dumbest subset of humanity - the tourist. No matter where you go, tourists quite often, are the most clueless people on earth. Hey maybe they were all just city Israeli's out in the sticks, but in the video, it looked like a bunch of people not paying attention and not talking to each other. Had the water been one foot deeper, most them folks might have been gonner's down that gorge. Having been a National Park Service employee, I know dumb tourist.

That being said, and also having a lot of back-country mountaineering and outdoor experience, etc., I know you can get caught with your pants up sometimes.

One late August afternoon several years ago, I led, unfortunately, a group of friends on a walk from the Skagit WRA's North Fork Access out to Craft Island. From there we waded the knee deep streamlet of the Skagit (ice cold even in August) over to the nearby walkable sandflats that stretch to Ika island.

>From there it was a pleasant walk on the sand and firm mud of the delta. A wonderful place.

Well, coming back, we were almost back at the streamlet crossing, when I, looking out to Skagit Bay, noticed the tide coming in. Really coming in: a "wall" of water, only about a foot tall, but spanning the whole bay at once. Bringing up mental files from a past life studying Fluvial Geomorphology, I realized "hey, that's a tidal bore!". I'd never really seen one before. It got exciting in about less than a minute.

Right as we were crossing the little tidal river channel, the mini- bore hit us. People think of a tsunami as a single 'wave', , but often, as in Fukushima, it's more like a temporary elevation of sea level. Oh sure, our bore was only about a foot tall, but it had the whole weight of Skagit Bay behind it. From knee high to crotch high in a flash, with quite a current . We got wet, but made it without incident. The worst that would've happened would be getting the local version of "tarred and feathered", which would've been "mudded and cat -tailed"

Well, I got in trouble for that,( our guests were from Iowa, and weren't used to tides and such),and not for the first time. Hat's off to tour guides- I'm just not cut out for it. I can deal with my own pratfall's but not so much being responsible for others.

Beware the Bore!

Jeff Gibson
posting from
Port Townsend Wa

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