A water crossing to forget

The province of Saskatchewan (along with Manitoba and some parts of Alberta) received some intense rainfall in June of 2014. A lot of roads were closed from “temporary” flooding.

On a road trip into Saskatchewan (to Regina), I planned to camp over night at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. My usual route to this camp ground takes me across a gravel road which aside from a minor washboard area, isn’t much of a big deal.

A few kilometers down this road is a land bridge across a bit of pond area. It’s pretty much single lane, but two vehicles can squeeze by, if necessary.

Have a look on the map, here:

Well, the heavy rains flooded the area, and a few signs were posted warning of “Water Over Road”.

Water Over Road. How bad can it be? Well, pretty bad. And I ended up damn lucky!

I slowly crept forward with the VagabondExpedition Jeep Wrangler. It was only a few inches deep, and you could easily see the old road surface through the mostly clear water. No big deal and I proceeded forward.

I was probably 200 meters into this, and yes, the water was getting deeper. I knew it would get shallower as I approached the other side. I though to myself that there was no way it would get any deeper now, as I’m close to the half way point.

Wow, was I wrong.

At the point in the photo above, water was only about up to the axles. I stopped taking photos after this point, as the water level quickly rose to the near the top of my 35″ Dunlop’s. Nothing was coming in through the doors, which I’m grateful for.

I contemplated trying to reverse out of this situation, but I’d have even less visibility to navigate backwards. Turning around on the narrow road would be possible if you could see edges, but that was all gone. I had to keep going forward and simply hope for the best now.

I cursed, I swore, I called myself an idiot for getting myself into this mess. Through some stroke of simply luck I made it out to the other side. A lot of water had been splashing up onto the hood as I pushed through it, and I was concerned about water in the intake.

My destination was only another kilometer up the road, so I pushed on to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park to assess the potential damage.

My first concern was water in the intake, so I opened the hood and popped the cover. The 2012’s and above take air off the top of the intake, so I was relieved when there was only about half an inch of water in the bottom. It would evaporate soon enough.

Looking under the rig, I found a collection of seaweed which I mostly picked off.

In the end, I really wasn’t happy with the decision to go across this body of water. Although I knew there once was a solid gravel road under the surface, not knowing the depth of water and not knowing the full integrity of what was under was an issue. Keeping eyes to the front and steering straight is the only thing that saved me that day. Had I slipped off the side, I guarantee I would have been submerged far too deep and in unstable ground to get out.

Here is a Google Street view image of the area, quite some time after they built up the road again.

google water after flood repairs

I knew where I was going, but there were still too many unknowns for this to have been an intelligent choice. Luckily I got out of this situation intact. Know what you’re crossing through, then stop and consider alternatives!

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