Sept. 4, 2022 was a rare sunny day. It revealed murky water pouring over the submerged Eyak Lake weir as a result of continual heavy rain fall. Dick Shellhorn photo

As rain continues to come down in endless variations, Cordovans have to be wondering when the precipitation is going to let up.

After all, the weather gage beyond the top of the ski hill recorded 72 inches of rain from July 16 to Sept. 21. That is an average of one inch per day. Even more amazing is the month of September, in which we received 43 inches of precipitation.

Having lived here seven-plus decades has certainly created a tolerance level for wet stuff, but this past month has found me humming the lyrics to a 1970 Credence Clearwater Revival classic. 

“Long as I remember the rain’s been coming down…And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain?”

Ah, back in May and June when the sun beat down in continual glory, a few locals had the audacity to complain about the heat, and it was rather startling to see some who showed up to shop for groceries at Nichols or A.C. wearing shorts with legs that had never seen the rays before.    

So, we had sun, and then we had rain. Likely it will all average out, although that is of little consolation as I watch sheets of water pouring off the roof. 

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It also seems that conditions change more rapidly, with the sun popping out for short periods, followed by more rain. I almost spilled my morning coffee when the computerized voice of the U.S. Weather Service said “peeps of sun possible.” Somewhere, someone was sympathetic to our plight.

Perhaps dramatic change in conditions has always been here, and all these new-fangled weather apps simply make one more aware. Or gullible. 

For example, before taking a daily early morning walk along Power Creek Road, I always glance at The Weather Channel, where radar images and bar graphs predict the amount of precipitation down to 15- minute intervals.

Despite this flashy display, I have often returned home drenched and have come to carry REI’s best light-weight raincoat in a backpack.

It turns out that Power Creek Road is also a popular place for a unique Cordova pastime called “running the dog,” which features owners driving their vehicles at various speeds depending on the condition of the dog, with the canine either chasing or leading the way.

Yet credit goes to several locals that hoof it with their furry companions, rain or shine. One such couple has a marvelous friendly golden retriever named Max.  

We have become great buddies, and he always runs over to get his ears scratched. 

However, there have been numerous bear sightings along the lake road this summer, and it is not clear how Max would deal with a bruin encounter. Consequently, the Man of the House carries a shoulder pouch containing not only bear spray but also a higher caliber deterrent should the need arise.

On one murky morning that turned into a downpour, I was walking back toward town, and was startled to see a red Subaru slowly driving my way, with a woman and dog plodding along ten yards behind.

The car stopped, the window came down, and from its comfy confines the driver explained, “I don’t walk in the rain.”

His drenched wife walked up, and from under her rain hood, as I petted Max, verified that truism.

She then explained since her hubby wasn’t walking, he was running interference for any possible bear encounters.

Thank goodness. For I thought I had just witnessed another one of those “Only in Cordova” moments:  someone walking not only his dog—but also his wife.

Ah, who says all this rain isn’t fun?

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Dick Shellhorn is a lifelong Cordovan. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 50 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and 2020, and third place in 2017 and 2019. He also received second place for Best Editorial Commentary in 2019. Shellhorn has written two books about Alaska adventures: Time and Tide and Balls and Stripes. Reach him at dshorn44@gmail.com.