Flooding in Alaska normally occurs in the spring time (April and May), from the melt of snow and ice. There are many hazards, including flooding roads, bridges, destroying houses and more. The flooding is worse if it is accompanied by excessive rainfall. When I was on a horse pack trip with my mom and some friends, we had camped for the night on an old stream bed, about 100 yards from the creek (a river to Outsiders). We had gotten back from our ride, where we had encountered a thunderstorm in the mountains, and didn’t make it back to camp before we were drenched. After we had gotten settled from our wet ride, I looked outside my tent and saw my horse was shivering, so I started walking her around to warm her up. The horses were in the trees just a short ways away from the tents on the stream bed, and as I was walking my horse back and forth by the tents, I suddenly saw a rivulet of water running along the edge, around our tent. It was quite the shock! I yelled for my mom and our friends, and we had to quickly move all our gear out of the way of the flood of water now pouring in rivulets. Not quite a flash flood, but certainly a raising water level! In about an hour, after the water went back down, all we had lost was our drinks in the creek 100 yards away where we had kept them to cool. We gained something more, though – since the water had risen then fallen so quikly, there were fresh trout flopping in the sand bar where minutes before had been a rivulet of water. Fresh trout for dinner!
We were lucky that day to have been camped on the far edge of the stream bed. Others aren’t so lucky, when their houses are on the edges of rivers that flood, which slowly erode away the ground, bringing the river closer and closer to their homes. This is a concern for many of the rivers in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, including Knik and Susitna Rivers.