I just returned from the Glen Canyon NRA project where we are removing Russian olive trees from the main corridor of the Escalante River. I’ve been involved in this project since the mid-1990s, and really enjoy seeing the river cleared of this massively invasive alien. These trees kill the native species and crowd everything along the river’s edge, hanging over the river and making travel along the river a painful experience. The trees have long needle-sharp red thorns.
Here are two shots of the river, before and after removal of the trees.We reached the 40-mile mark with this trip — 40-miles of the river corridor have been cleared of the awful trees from the reservoir (Lake Powell) upriver. Follow-up trips every fall keep new starts and any regrowth in check.

On our day off, GLCA Ranger Bill Wolverton takes us on the most incredible dayhikes. I’ve been in tiny slot canyons, up scary Moki steps, up and down chimneys, learned all about canyoneering, visited remote arches, slithered through mud cracks, rinsed off in refreshing waterfalls, climbed sand dams and entered fern grottos. I can’t wait for the next trip here in the spring.

Which brings me to to the title of this post: We are always watching the river while on these projects, and have witnessed several episodes of the water rising quickly and side channels flooding, even when the sky is clear. When it’s raining, we are careful to keep all the volunteers on the side of the river where camp is located, but have had a couple of incidents where folks were trapped on the other side for a couple of hours or overnight waiting for the river to drop. We’ve had no injuries due to our diligence.

Wilderness Volunteers leader Curt Mobley has a story of a flash flood in Zion when he was hiking with this wife Ann Kruse a few years back that was told in the Sept 2010 issue of Sierra Magazine, and he’s given us permission to share his story here (click on the picture to see the full image):