North of Spanish Flats, California
...for a larger view and link to a map: http://www.pbase.com/image/109940939
From this photographer's travels on Friday...
For many years - I've considered myself a knowledgeable guide and documentarian of northern and central California. I've made it a point to seek out and travel even the remotest of roads throughout the region.
This Friday - on assignment - I set out to photograph the nearby Lake Berryessa. The main highway - State 128 is a road I travel frequently. It goes right by the dam and the lower portion of the lake. Because of the mountains near the dam - you can see very little of the lake along that road. I had last traveled the narrow road along the west side of the lake back in 1971. Based on that experience and conversations with people since - I could find no good reason to return.
The 1971 trip was in late-summer and very hot and dry. The lake is a Bureau of Reclaimation man-made reservoir which was very low - having given much of its water to the irrigation of the lower Sacramento Valley. A wide band of uniform brown lined the huge lake. Sort of like a bathtub ring. An unmistakable pointer to the amount of missing water.
The hills were dry and parched. The air - stifling and still. The sounds of powerboats pulling sunburned people on skis filled the afternoon. An endless cacophony of many buzzing engines. I was with a woman friend. We were hiking along a trail which led to my first encounter with a fully grown rattlesnake. She was terrified - I pretended to be brave. Lovely.
It was - and remains a poor man's resort area. Most of cabins are old and poorly built - or on wheels. No modern hotels. No chain restaurants.
Like I said - I couldn't find a good reason to return - or even a bad one for that matter. And I wasn't overly excited about this trip - despite the fact it was a really beautiful day. Was I in for a shock. This turned out to be a photographer's dream assignment.
To be continued...
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