Yesterday, a great article by Chris Counts appeared in the Carmel Pine Cone. (see link under local media). One minor correction, though, and that is the helicoptering in of the equipment happened on Wednesday, not Tuesday.
Kirk Gafill has become an incredibly articulate and reasonable spokesperson for the business community in his role as President of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, and I, personally, thank him for his continued involvement in the health and well-being of our community, which depends so greatly on our tourist-supported businesses.
Amazingly, all necessary agencies worked well together and were able to agree to allow much of the slide material to go where gravity and Mother Nature originally intended. Only took two weeks, too. Five agencies, I counted were involved – USFS, Cal-Trans, NOAA, Monterey Marine Sanctuary, and the California Coastal Commission.
My trip north yesterday was the first I had taken for several months, I believe, and certainly the first since the road opened. I stopped on the way back and took a photo of the Rocky Creek slide as it looks currently, and will post it this afternoon. (Still in camera, still in car.)
Yesterday, while everyone was watching the helicopters deliver the equipment, a mama and her baby were spotted about 100 yards off shore. Rock Knocker got photos, as well as CHP Officer Ben Grasmuck. Here are a couple:
Now that I have your attention, Cal-Trans just sent out a notice and photos of what happened yesterday. Nothing I hadn’t already posted, although they did send out some photos, most very similar to those I posted yesterday, but there is a nice one of the dozer in mid air that if I can get my computer to load (it came to my iPhone) I will add.
As promised, here are more photos of the Alder Creek slide. I’m going back to the day before to show its development. Think of it as a mini course in slides – Big Sur style. Thanks to Rock Knocker.
This was taken on April 12, 2011, 2 days before the big slide. The climbers were going up to check a big crack up above that had developed. They checked it the next day, and knew it was giving way. There was LOTS of movement.
This was taken the day before the big slide.
This was 5 days after the slide with dozers and trucks working both ends. Hard to make any progress that way with a monster like this.
Now we move on to yesterday, Tuesday April 26, 2011 –
That is the Chinook. If you follow the cable one can see the dozer or spider being brought in. I cannot tell from this photo which it is. But two of each were brought in by helicopter to the top of the slide. The spiders are blue and the dozers are yellow.
Here, one can tell it is a spider being ferried in. Follow the cable.
Diane flys in for a look-see.
Ah, and here is my very favorite one of this series. Look at the size of those silhouettes up against the raging power of Mother Nature. “Men of Courage” I titled it, but it could have easily been The Crazy Men of Cal-Trans, Big Sur.” I know, I was married to one of them.
10 am – Last night Sherry Tune, District Ranger of the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest confirmed that the Chinook was bringing in the equipment needed by helicopter to work the slide from the top. At 8 am, I heard the sound of the Chinook somewhere in the area – there is no mistaking that sound. Of course, as the slide is on USFS property, or at least begins there, then proceeds down to Cal-Trans’s road, and then into the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, overseen by NOAA, all of which is under the umbrella of the California Coastal Commission, a lot of governmental agencies must coordinate and be involved in this slide removal. Is it any wonder our government is dysfunctional?? Sorry, it is not personal, I like all the representatives of these agencies, but let me be clear about my position on this — this is absolutely friggin’ nuts. Want to know why it will take 4-6 weeks to clear this slide? Look at the coordination and scheduling involved when you have 5 levels of governmental agencies.
Okay, later today, I am expecting some photos of this portion of the slide removal operation, so come back this evening for an update.
I have been trying to get these photos by Nola Barnick up for a couple days now, but my internet has been difficult. These were taken recently near Limekiln. These rock knockers are a Cal-Trans climbing crew, lead by John Duffy. Each year, each climber must be recertified by attending a climbing school held up in the Sierras every year.
Today, they are climbing Alder Creek, getting it ready for the delivery of spider excavators and dozers to be helicoptered in sometime this week. Rock Knocker got some photos of the climbers, but said they had a long way to go when he called.
And yes, Kirsty (see comment below) that is a falling rock to which the arrow is pointing. Not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!
I admit – I took the day off yesterday – from everything and everyone. I went to Paso on Friday, a 6 hour round trip to do my shopping, and it wore me out.
I do have some depressing news about Alder Creek. Cal-Trans sent out a notice on Friday that the road would be closed there for 4-6 weeks. Bah, phewy. Cambria is my closest town. I have pre-paid for some work to be done out of there – so I guess I’ll be waiting on that. Word on the street is that three “spider” excavators are being brought in to work the top of the slide as Cal-Trans did on the big slide in 1983.
As difficult as this is on some of us, I cannot but imagine the toll it is taking on Pacific Valley School. Many of the teachers and staff live south of the slide. This past week, they have been on Easter break, so not too difficult, but next week? It will be a challenge to house all those who must be housed here during the closure.
Weather has also been depressing – wet and cold. Looks like one more round, and then a dry week ahead. NOAA discussion –
“ANOTHER LOW MOVING INTO THE PAC NW LATER TONIGHT AND MONDAY WILL INITIALLY DRAG A WARM FRONT THROUGH NORCAL FOLLOWED BY A COLD FRONT. AS A RESULT…ANOTHER ROUND OF LIGHT RAIN WILL BE POSSIBLE LATE TONIGHT AND MONDAY. MODEL GUIDANCE FOCUSES MOST OF THE RAINFALL OVER THE NORTH BAY…BUT SOME RAIN WILL BE POSSIBLE AS FAR SOUTH AS MONTEREY. RAINFALL AMOUNTS WILL ONCE AGAIN BE ON THE LIGHT SIDE. THE REST OF THE WORK WEEK APPEARS TO BE DRY AS WEAK RIDGING BUILDS OVER THE REGION.”
We’ve all been so darn serious, and rightly so, given conditions here. AND it isn’t over yet, as long as Alder Creek is closed. BUT, for a bit of a breather, now that we can all go north again, I offer this bit of photographic whimsy.