On my way home from a doctor's appointment yesterday, I stopped to take a picture of the nearly empty reservoir. The old bridge is visible and you can trace the winding road from the Calaveras side of the river down to the bridge. Plus there is water, no longer just puddles. The Army Corps of Engineers ordered water flows to assist the salmon and other fish smelts. They need water that is cool enough to hatch.
the old bridge brings me three distinct memories. My mother lived with
me near the end of her life and she drove that route to Sonora and
claimed it to be the worst road she'd ever driven. I chuckle because I
love that windy road. Maybe being raised in the flat state of Michigan
gave me an appreciation for the mountains and mountain driving.
second memory is the white water rafting trips I took when the river
was natural. It was so popular with rafters that a huge protest movement
against damming the Stanislaus took place. One protester, Mark DuBois
tied himself to a rock so they couldn't flood the place without drowning
him. An activist is what I've always been, so I protested the dam too,
by writing letters.
Mark DuBois had to give it up because it
took over a year for the dam to fill by a strong rainy season. The
Stanislaus has the deepest limestone canyon of any river in the United
States, which is what made it such a good ride.
Our local paper had an
article last week about Mark who returned for a rafting trip once again
down the Stanislaus. Had I known ahead of time, I'd have gone on that
trip with him. Well, actually, that is just wishful thinking.
memory I have of rafting that river is of friends, Howard and Gerraine
Hoyt and their youngest daughter, a real beauty at about age 16. The
guys who guided the rafts were a wild bunch of young guys who worked
during the summer and went on welfare during the winter. They were
obviously filled with testosterone and our guide had shorts on with no
protector and everything he owned was hanging pretty loose. He couldn't
take his eyes off of Kelly. At the end of the trip, Gerraine wanted a
picture of Kelly with the guide and she very matter of factually asked
him to tuck his stuff into his pants before she took the picture. We
could see him blush under his deep tan. It still makes me laugh because
none of us found it offensive or fussed about what we all noticed. Ah,
to be young again. Wasn't it fun?