An evening with a simple plan. All I wanted to do was hammock in the park with my best friend after I got off work. All I wanted to do. A simple plan turned rogue when a flood, a storm, frogs, waterfalls, broken shoes, broken phones & the cops got involved.
It was 5:30, I was supposed to be off work at 5:45, when Shannon, my boss texted me saying her flight was delayed because of the monsoon blowing through Phoenix. Shannon was flying home from Las Vegas and I was taking care of her daughter, Megan. It was Tuesday night and I’d been over since Sunday when Shannon first left.
I wasn’t annoyed. Really. I wasn’t, though I had a plan to go hammock I wasn’t gonna be able to go any sooner now even if she was home when she was supposed to be because of the storm. Besides her flight was only delayed two hours so she was home just before nine. Even then it wasn’t too late to follow through with the plan.
I arrived at my best friend’s house but forgot to tell her so I walked in and scared her. Her parents were really confused why we had this plan still, because of all the rain…but at this point it was practically not raining at all anymore and was starting to clear up.
We drove to Elderado Park which is the biggest section of the green belt that runs north and south through Scottsdale, it’s like Scottsdale’s Central Park. There are so many places to park and even more places to hammock. Neither of us knew of a good spot before hand so I parked in a lot that I found easily.
We were so excited upon our arrival that we left all our stuff in the car. We left our snacks, we left our hammocks, we left our towels and our blankets. We were so excited because this massive park was visibally underwater. The green belt is designed at a slope so the water flowed from north Scottsdale where the green belt starts all the way down to south Scottsdale where the green belt ends. Tempe doesn’t water the green belt so it’s a massive dry ditch, but the rain water flowed through that part too and emptied into the Tempe town lake. With that being said, the water was flowing so fast, like nothing I have ever seen before. It was almost like there was a dam somewhere that broke and water was bursting out and flowing fast to the lowest point on earth. The sidewalks were barely visible, mostly underwater or covered in debris. But Nikki and I were thrilled and exhilarated.
There’s skate park at the south end that sounded interesting to us because all the half pipes and ramps would be underwater so we ran over there to check it out. When we arrived it was just what we thought, the skatepark was underwater and filled up to look like a swimming pool.
While at the skatepark/swimming pool I told Nikki how all this water was going to flow into Tempe town lake and we both decided to walk all the way there to see it happen for ourselves. It was a really horrible idea, it being over a four mile walk one way and dark and the water moving so fast with the ground invisible beneath us, but in our current state we decided to do it!
We did not make it very far.
Only about 200 yards away from the skatepark I was walking on grass I couldn’t see under me when all of a sudden the ground beneath me disappeared and I fell into a deep hole. Holding my phone and my car key, I was completely submerged underwater. I came up yelling at Nikki saying one sentence over and over, I don’t remember what it was though. Something along the lines of “I FELL IN! I FELL IN! I FELL IN!” Nikki watched the whole thing happen and did nothing to help. She was still above water and laughing her ass off. Meanwhile I was still in this deep water holding my hands over my head, I couldn’t turn around and go back because the current was so strong. So I kept walking forward and until I kicked a wall with my foot, I scrambled my way up the wall, then felt the grass again. Nikki and I were standing directly across from eachother now and it looked like perfectly flat land was in between us, however we knew there was a sidewalk down there that was lower than the grass, and deep enough down there that if somebody smaller than me fell, they couldn’t stand up. That was a scary thought.
I ran over to a light pole and jumped on it, I was holding on so tight, for my life, while the water under me was flowing rapidly. I felt like Blake Lively from the shallows when she hangs on to the bouy for dear life while the shark was biting at her- though there were no sharks, it was dark and I didn’t know what was down there.
Not until I was hanging on to the light pole did I check out my phone, I was scared. Very scared that my phone would be dead and gone and gone for ever. I clicked the lock button and the screen lit up, everything looked normal, it checked out then I had the biggest sigh of relief ever. God is good.
I was drenched may I remind you, head to toe. Never in my life had I ever said the phrase “I’m cold” during the hot Phoenix summer. But I was, it was windy and still sprinkling and I was SOAKING WET. so you can understand hopefully why I was chilly.
Nikki and I walked south a little more then turned around because we realized we came to the park to hammock, and it had been nearly and hour and we hadn’t even set up.
North of the skate park there’s an amphitheater made in the grass facing the skatepark, but with all the water the U-shaped amphitheater was a massive waterfall four layers tall. The first time we went past it going over a bridge on the other end, but we didn’t take the same way back so we had to go over the waterfall. As we walked on what was what people would sit on, the water was flowing over the top, down and then off the edge, if we had one wrong step, the water would have pushed underneath us and made us fall but we made it. And eventually after a few more massive puddles we made our way back to the car and found a spot to hammock.
We hammocked on an island, meaning there was water all around us, but we were a little higher up so that the ground beneath us was “dry” (not dry, but it wasn’t a swamp). Plus we had a clear path from our trees to the car, we didn’t have to walk through water to get to it. We hung out for a while, about an hour before we left, but in that time so much happened.
Frogs. Everywhere. I didn’t even know frogs existed like in public but they were all around us because we were at like the only spot that wasn’t six inches deep water. I saw the first one and told Nikki, nikki does not like frogs at all so it was funny we kept seeing them, she would freak out a little more every time.
While laying in the hammocks Nikki sat up and came to the realization that we were floating above water. We used to be on an island but now water was completely under us, and the level was rising. We picked up our flip flops and put them in our hammocks just in time before the water carried them away. To get to our spot we had to cross over a bridge, which was dry, now the water level was so high that the bridge was under water and the water was flowing so fast over it that it was another water fall. It made absolutely no sense to us how the water was still high and getting higher, the rain had stopped for over two hours at this point so technically the water should be slowing down and going away, but more and more kept coming.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw flashing lights over in the parking lot I first parked in, a cop stopped a car. I don’t like cops. So I was thankful I moved my car. Then a cop came over to where I parked my car and his lights were flashing. I thought I was going to get a parking ticket so we packed up and headed back to the car but this was tricky. There was so much water under us that it was more of a reason to leave before we got stranded. We had to take the hammocks down very carful my so they didn’t get wet or lose them to the flood.
Back at the car the parking lot was flooded, which made getting out of the spot very difficult. There was so much flowing water beneath my tires pulling me the opposite way I wanted to drive.
I pulled out of the lot though nature really wanted to take us down stream, when the cop finally stopped me. He asked what we were doing, how long we’d been there and asked if we noticed how high the water got, and we did. He told us to get home safe and didn’t ask to many annoying-none-of-his-business questions so I wasn’t too bothered with this cop.
Nikki kept saying how this was the WORST idea I’d ever had but in the end it was so fun. So funny, so many things happened to make the night both crazy in a good and bad way. All well worth it, we made it out alive and its a funny story to tell.