Lake Berryessa

Mid-November Rob Thayer and I made a two-day tour of our watershed from Lake Berryessa to Middletown. The main idea was to check out the debris left when the Bureau of Reclamation evicted people who had over the years turned temporary residence at the lake into permanency. The lake was down but not out of water and I was reminded once again how pretty it is, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background and sparse vegetation in the foreground.

But there was no debris left behind. The BofRec had hauled all away and swept the area clean of human remains. At one of the mobile home subdivisions (the homes turned out to be more mobile than the owners wanted) a bar across the road said “Danger.” We entered anyway. Some lines were down, but it was clear no current was running through them. Otherwise, we could find nothing dangerous. When we returned an hour later a BofRec officer was waiting for us. He had seen our parked campers. We went on at length about how much we knew about the lake and the Bureau’s management of it, and he was pleasant and did not cite us for trespassing. He had recently arrived from a facility in New Jersey, I think it was. I asked him if he felt banished to Berryessa. His arm made a sweeping gesture across the landscape, “Oh, no. When I wake up to this, I am a happy man.”