Jun 112010

At least 16 people perished during extraordinary flash floods at the Albert Pike Recreational Area campgrounds about 25 miles from our home.  Television station KTHV reported that the Little Missouri River rapidly rose from 3 feet to 23 feet from about 1AM to 5AM this morning.

We frequently visit Albert Pike because it is beautiful, so I am very familiar with the area.  At 23 feet, most of the campgrounds and roads would be covered by around 15-feet of water.  It would have been nearly impossible to flee.

Reports that there could have been up to 300 people at the campgrounds are hard to believe, although the park does get busy during holidays.  I would estimate that there might have been at the most 100-150 people  in the area last night.  Nearly all of the campgrounds would have been under water at one point.  If there is any cell phone coverage in the campground, I have not encountered it.  The cabins in the area are located significantly higher above the river than the campgrounds.  The main campgrounds are located next to the river with both sides of the valley very steep and rocky.  The only real option is to travel in either direction of the river.

As regular readers of this site already know, Albert Pike is one of the most important figures in the history of Freemasonry.  The recreational area is named after Pike because he had a mansion nearby that was eventually burned to the ground, purportedly by people who where trying to rob him.  In a macabre coincidence, a packed Masonic lodge in nearby Mena was leveled by a tornado a little over a year ago, killing at least one and wounding many more.