Looking at the picture of the dry river from the last post got me to thinking about how it changes. If one hasn’t lived with it year by year, it’s hard to realize all the ups and downs it’s taken. This is yesterday’s shot, looking west.
Here it is just a few weeks ago . . .
All of the vegetation will be gone, soon. But here is the same spot in 2010 . . . a bit to the north.
There was a lot more green before the drought. Still, it’s come a long way since last year’s big fire.
And an even longer way since the 1980’s. This picture was taken in 1985, when it was rare to have water in the river. It was also the policy to keep the riverbed clear, so there would be heavy equipment in clearing brush whenever it was dry. There was very little riparian habitat then.
It’s hard to believe it’s the same spot. The power lines in the distance are the best clue.
Billy can remember the times before the Isabella dam, when it was a raging cataract. I wasn’t around for that, but I’ve seen it high enough to be dangerous to swimmers. That’s rare in our stretch of the “Killer Kern”. Most of the drownings take place in the upper reaches of the river, but there have been lives lost here, too.
So — the river comes and the river goes. I just hope we get a good winter, with the help of El Nino, so we can see it full once again — and many more times.