As I write this article on Monday evening, the raging waters of Pleasant River in Mason are gradually receding. We received about 4.2 inches of rain in about 12 hours, beginning sometime after midnight last night. Consequently, Pleasant River boiled over with raging muddy water and washed out the new culvert installed on Meadowbrook Bridge road by Bethel road crewmen only two or three weeks ago. Actually, the culvert is still there, but all the approximately 2-feet deep fill installed atop the culvert is gone, leaving a gaping 2-feet deep by 10-feet or so wide washout across the road.
Contributing to the problem of Pleasant River washing out the road here is a series of pine trees that have been undercut by the current and have fallen across the stream, leaving nice log jams for improved trout fishing, but not so good for keeping the river within its banks. I have pointed out this problem to the Oxford County Commissioners, but for some reason they have been reluctant to contact the land owner about removing some of the logs from the streambed. This is a recurring problem, and the river overflows the road in this same spot several times yearly, on average.
Another factor complicating matters is that the overflowing usually begins in Mason just upstream of the Mason-Bethel town line and washes out the road just on the Bethel side of the line. Hence, both the Town of Bethel and the Oxford County Commissioners sometimes are involved. And neither agency wants to listen to my suggestions!
Meanwhile, the ol’ swimming hole at “the falls” was a raging cataract this morning. The raging torrent went over the tops of the highest ledges at the top of the falls and receded only enough to leave a small area of stone and trees exposed downstream about opposite the small green-roofed camp on the ledges adjacent to the Kings Highway road. This unusually high level of water here is normally seen only in the spring of the year when heavy rain produces rapid snowmelt and brings great ice jams down the river.
Two days ago Hutchinson Brook was little more than a trickle that you could cross in low quarter shoes without getting your feet wet. This morning the water was raging over my logging bridge which is normally a good two to three feet above the water level! I think the fire danger is down to the “impossible to start” range around here.