Friday, December 19, 2008

If you were involved in Wednesday's rescue effort....

If you spent time in the flood waters in the Tijuana River Valley on Wednesday, and you have not previously been vaccinated for Hepatitis A, please contact your physician, or call Passport Health in Mission Valley. We went today, and received a dose of Hep A immune globulin to immediately protect us against Hepatitis A. We're going back in 3 months (when the IG wears off) for our Hep A vaccines. The ladies at Passport Health were very helpful, and the cost was reasonable. Their phone number is:


Tell them Kirk & Maria sent you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flooding in Tijuana River Valley

Let me just start by saying that ALL OF THE SUN COAST HORSES ARE SAFE AND SOUND!!

Kirk & I arrived at the ranch at about 9 yesterday morning. We had debated about going down at all; it was raining steadily, and we figured there wasn't much we could do with the horses. But we wanted to see them and make sure they were snug, feed them their supplements, and come home. We left the house without my cell phone or Kirk's laptop, no water or snacks, anticipating a quick trip down and then back home -- maybe an hour round trip.

When we got to the ranch, it was wet, but not alarming; we fed supplements, and picked up what manure we could. Mike (the ranch owner) called at about that time, to ask if we could run to Chula Vista and pick up a couple of pumps he was renting to start pumping out ditches. (They own two large pumps which were already running.) We made the trip, and were surprised by how much more water was crossing Monument Rd when we returned half an hour later. Kirk and the Panchos proceeded to set up the smaller pump, while I tried to herd 4 loose horses from a neighboring ranch into a pasture. At some point in the next ten minutes, I heard water rushing. Through the pens closest the road, the river was literally running. Pouring.

The rest of the day was a blur...the water rose so fast, it was shocking. Horses that were on dry ground 15 minutes earlier were suddenly belly deep, and looking at us with wide eyes, trapped in their pens. With no way of knowing how high the water would rise, and with it rising at an alarming rate, we made one decision...get 'em all to higher ground. And so we did. Up the hill to Dana & Irwin's place.

Between about 8 people, we moved about 100 horses through water between knee and waist deep. Mostly it seemed to reach about to my hip. Let me tell you...dragging Wellies and jeans through water up to at least mid-thigh is no picnic. Doing it with a terrified horse -- and usually one on either side of you -- plunging through the flood is absolutely surreal. Shivering with cold, teeth chattering, legs cramping with every step, no feeling left in your fingers, time after time you reach dry ground with another batch of rescuees -- and have to turn right around and wade back in to bone chilling, filthy, debris strewn water.

More than one cell phone perished in a pocket that seemed high enough earlier in the day. I'm sure folks will be wondering why no one called them. But the truth is, between the waterlogged phones and the urgency of the situation, it just all happened too fast, and no one was being allowed in to the area at that point anyway. Kirk's phone is reviving finally after several hours, and so we have some pictures of the day below.

BTW...the -- ahem -- "rescue" workers were scarce. We were lucky to have one very kind border patrol agent leading horses out. The firemen didn't even give me a second glance when I wandered by at one point later in the evening, soaked to the bone and shell shocked. They were too busy scrubbing their rubber boots with disinfectant.

If you are on my trim list for the week, please accept my apologies -- I doubt I will be in any shape to work for a day or two (sort feel like a bus ran over me at the moment), but we'll catch up next week!