Tour without a goal – 23 August 2014

Pine Flat Lake

I get to go on living
among summer grasses

the empty lake
Today was mostly spent in the low altitude valleys and it was hot. First thing In the morning I crossed the San Joaquin River and then climb right back over 2000 feet. But the rest of the day was primarily on valley walls going up and down in the heat. I was on these virtually empty back roads through ranch land that was dry, drought dry. I rode along an empty stream bed and crossed over the dry feeder creeks. The terrain was all brown, tan, dead grasses and stunted trees. I never saw any livestock on these ranches. The only relief from the blazing sun was that portions of it were lined the black oaks that hung over the narrow road providing some shade

Deeper part of Pine Flat lake

Most striking though was when I came around Pine Flat Lake, which clearly was a major recreation area. But the lake was dramatically low, with this hard line of trees where its level had historically been. But all the way down to the current level was these rings like close terraces showing where the levels it had been as it slowly drained away. There was still boating and such in the deeper sections of the lake but I have to,say this brought the three years of drought home. From the lake I descended to below 750 feet to Choinumi Park in Piedra where I camped this night. This was on a river that drained from Pine Flat lake and I was happy to see it burbling with water. Plenty hot here until the sun went behind the hills and it cooled a bit.

far down the hot, dusty valley,
the promise of green mountains

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