There’s no such thing as a 100-year flood.
- Andrew Cuomo -
Our Cabin before the flood – of 2013 … after being rebuilt by the previous owners after the floods of 1995 and 2005.
Our place after the flood. The cabin was lifted by the water, rotated almost 90 degrees, and then set back down in a different location.
The front of the cabin – the sunroom was torn off, leaving only its roof.
The back of the cabin came to rest against one of the outbuildings in the neighbour’s yard. The blue bench in the foreground of this photo was part of the deck that was attached to the back of our cabin. This deck is now on the far side of the neighbour’s yard. There is a row of flat rocks on the top rail of this blue bench – I put the rocks there, and they did not move though the deck floated more than 60 feet and turned a full 180 degrees. (We’ll rescue the rocks!)
The same deck as above, other side of it – four bicycles, two fell off the bench, but all of them stayed fairly high and dry. In the background, the hot tub – it started off next to this deck, but on the opposite corner.
The upended shed – this boot and the tin of pop were in the shed – which was padlocked. The shed door is open now, but we don’t know what is in it because it is too high off the ground to see inside.
The Car Guy and his dad made these little tables. There were ten of them, and we found five of them in our yard!
The inside of the cabin – kitchen to the left, living room to the right. The only thing we salvaged was the big ceramic bowl on the floor in the foreground of this photo. It had a bit of mud on the bottom edge, but was absolutely clean otherwise.
Black colored mold is forming on many surfaces. The loft room upstairs is dry, but I don’t think we’ll salvage more than a few things from there. The mold is starting to creep up into areas that are not water damaged. Everything upstairs is exactly as I left it – even the piles of books on the dresser didn’t move.
The little putting green by the clubhouse – a small forest of trees are already starting to claim the land – and it has only been three and a half weeks since the flood!
It felt very strange to be so sad about my cabin, yet so cheered that the little piece of land that my cabin sat on was still a beautiful wooded paradise. At the front of the lot, the bulldozer had roughly scraped away a driveway, but at the back, the saskatoons were heavy with fruit. The familiar old trees that were growing nearly parallel to the ground – they had been chopped down. But the tall old poplars that threatened to fall on the cabin – they were still standing. The birds were singing, and all my neighbours were in their yards and houses, right where they would have been if this had been a normal day. It was so oddly reassuring.
On the drive home I said to The Car Guy – just suppose someone waved a magic wand and said – here is a new lease, we have a new utility system – please come back. I started to picture where I would put a house this time. I thought about how we would build a cabin that would float like a houseboat. People who don’t know better would say, “Why would you build on this flood plain again!” And I would smile and say, “You don’t understand what it means to ‘love a piece of land’. You don’t understand what ties a group of people to a place. ” Instead of moving off the flood plain, maybe a better solution is to figure out what is the best way to live on a flood plain.
The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach -
NOTE: This story was written on July 15, 2013. Former Hidden Valley owners who want up to date information about the ongoing concerns of the residents can go to the website Hidden Valley, Alberta.
To see all my stories and photos of the situation at Siksika/Hidden Valley, click on this link: Alberta Flooding.