Friday, January 30, 2015

Drought And History At Santa Margarita Lake

Today, after an extended absence from taking day hike excursions out into the hinterlands of San Luis Obispo County, my brother by another mother, Mike and I finally got out for a trek on the east side of Santa Margarita Lake (Salinas Reservoir) off of River Road via Pozo Road. The last time we visited this location was over a month ago and around the general time-frame that California had its big December 2014. Consequently, it was a lot wetter then in contrast to today. I found it shockingly dry despite those rains last month. The only sign that rain even happened was all the germinated green grass mingled with even more brown, dry, dead grass. Most shocking was the complete absence of any glimpse of the waters of Santa Margarita Lake. Of second-most interest today was our discovery of some relics of earlier eras of human activity in what is now the area of the lake-bed.  

After getting off the beaten path I spotted this concrete structure which normally should be under the waters of the lake.
I hiked down to the concrete structure to investigate further and attempt to determine its former purpose.
Upon viewing it from the south I determined it was a bridge for the former Pozo Road before the lake was formed.
In a normal summer this lake is a great fire break. This year the lake-bed will invite fire across its surface.
Note: this is the old Salinas River-bed heavily silted up due to the existence of the lake here since 1941.
Mike and Oscar made a discovery on this eroded stone outcropping just above the aforementioned concrete bridge ruin.
Chumash bedrock mortars.
The choice of location for this bedrock mortar site is obvious given it is at the junction of the Salinas River and a tributary.
My little monster amidst these wildflowers. I fear this may be as vivid as wildflowers get this year in the North County.
The bed of the Salinas River is outlined as a swath down the middle of the dead reed-covered dry bed of the eastern end of Santa Margarita Lake.
We found the remains of an old park outhouse... again off the beaten path we usually take here.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

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