Most mornings, Maude Feil will walk around her neighborhood, starting from where she lives at Montecito Shores.
On Wednesday morning, about 8, she did the same — but this time she broke out her Colorado mud boots and a long walking stick.
“The mud was so deep I got it to check to see what I could go through,” she said.
As she walked along Olive Mill Road, she passed construction crews clearing mud off Coast Village Road. Rivulets of water flowed past mud-caked cars, downed wires and broken white picket fences.
When she’d gone walking the day before with a neighbor it was her first long look at the devastation from mud flows. It looked, she said, “like an apocalypse happened.”
That day as she walked, she spotted what she thought was a mannequin under some railroad tracks. But her neighbor turned to her and said no, it was a body. One foot was at an odd angle.
“It was a woman’s body,” Feil said.
Feil and her walking companion alerted emergency workers.
“It was very upsetting.”
As she made her way farther along the road on Wednesday, she passed mud-caked homes marked with “X” and “all clear.”
“Wow,” she gasped, as she surveyed the devastation.
Feil, who has lived in Montecito for eight years, had to evacuate during the Thomas fire, she said Wednesday.
“First I’ve never been so close to a fire in my whole entire life, then this,” said Feil, who had to evacuate during the Thomas fire. “People who didn’t lose their house in the fire — they just lost huge things in the mud. It’s like a war zone or something.”
Up the way, Ana Maria Florez tried to cross a road as she and her husband walked with their white husky and found herself bogged down in mud along with the dog.
She cleans a house on Eleven Oaks Lane and was trying to reach it to find out for the owners, who live in L.A., how it fared in the rainstorm.
She pulled herself out of the shin-high mud and surveyed the impassable street.
The owners are desperate to know how their house is, she told her husband.
“Cross if you want,” he told her.
They stood amid the mud for another 15 minutes, then turned to go.