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.”

Putah Creek Tour Pleasants Valley Road to Markley Cove

0.0 On State Route 128 at Pleasants Valley Road, going west. No clouds. Some wind. Warm and gonna be hot in the Sacramento Valley. Behind the Diversion Dam Putah Creek is a lake. Here it is a bath tub. 1.7 Developed Fishing Access.

4.0 Another developed Fishing Access.

Purpose of the cylinder under hood is a puzzle. Sun through trees juxtaposes strong light with strong dark. Nikon P90 has a wide tonal range, but neither can it figure out the wherefore of the metal cylinder. 5.0 Canyon Creek Resort, with Market and Cafe and RVs and motel rooms along with basketball net and swimming pool and manicured lawn for games. Members only.

The creek runs softly. 5.2 Bridge over Putah Creek and passage into Solano County. In another quarter mile is the entrance to Stebbins Cold Creek Preserve run by the University. The best sort-of-wild hiking trail near Davis. Up the hill sharply and at 6.0 is Monticello Dam. Here is the spigot. Turn it on and water rushes out from the bottom of the dam and is cold. So for three miles below Putah Creek is world class trout habitat. A Bureau of Reclamation employee picks up stray trash. He doesn’t fish. He skies. On water. Wednesday he’ll be on the lake the dam makes. A short walk and there’s the Glory Hole, Putah Creek’s Really Great Attractor. Its magnetism is so strong that the Feds have put up a super strong wire fence topped with barbs to keep would be suicides out.

8.2 Markley Cove for candy and cokes and launching of boats.