Dry Folsom Lake With Artifacts

Please send your thoughts and prayers to the northern california communities threatened by the dam crisis.

Back in fall of 2015 I went out to the  historic town of Mormon Island that was flooded by Folsom Lake. Due to the drought, the lake was at its lowest level ever and revealed this hidden gem.

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They were finishing off work on a new spillway and reinforcing the side dams like this one and where those cranes are in the distance

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It was a tiny pond of a lake, remember those funny looking lumps for later

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This was the dry lakebed, there were remnants of the old town scattered all over the place

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Lacking context, much of it seemed quite alien

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What was this green depression? Perhaps a creek drainage canal

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A paved road led further into the lake, here is looking back to shore

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And out towards the lake

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I love this shot, sorry for the glare, my lens was acting up

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These trees used to line the street

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An old road sign

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The decay was super cool

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Steps to nowhere

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Back at the spillway project, which is now pretty much finished

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These are tailings from right before the dam went up. They dredged the river and banks for the famous gold and left behind these piles of dirt

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People had found a ton of cool stuff, and because this is a state park they left them here for everyone to enjoy and for the lake to take back

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I loved the old bottles

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And iron

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Even ceramic tile

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Perhaps a former house foundation

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See you next post

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Big Bald Rock in Butte County

I went up to this national forest landmark in southern Butte county in the late fall. There isn’t a lot of hiking involved on this one, the drive is paved and the area is just south of Lake Oroville. You can see this prominent granite dome from down in the valley, especially on the way into Oroville.

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Fun local flare

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Not super impressive from this angle, but this granite emerges out of a vast forested plateau

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From below, it looks a bit more like this with large masses of stone

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There are two main exposed formations

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This formation is the same granite that surrounds Yosemite, here you can see a recent exfoliation, which is where the top of the granite dome slowly snaps off along the edges in sheets

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A view of the other prominence, the lake is on the other side of the near forested ridge

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This giant boulder may be a glacial remnant, where it was lifted up eons ago and dropped here by a sheet of ice

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The granite had all kinds of interesting geology, I bet local college classes visit here

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Interesting ripples in the rock, possibly from water erosion

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This was out towards a great view of the valley

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You could see straight across the valley to the coastal range of mountains in the distance

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This USGS marker has been struck by lightning many, many times. So many that they installed three metal rods in the area to channel the energy away from it

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This crack seemed more from the freeze/thaw cycle than exfoliaiton

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However these were more sheets slipping off the top of the dome

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Some pretty steep areas

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Somehow a few plants where scavenging a living up here

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And the water clearly makes this a dangerous place when wet, with all these rivers on smooth rockface

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I think this one looks like a bird, you?

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Next up, lost town under Folsom Lake comes out for first time in 40 years.

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From East to West – Sonora Pass and Locke

Some odds and ends today. My last pics from on my way home from mammoth, and a trip to the delta town of Locke, a well-preserved former chinese community.

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Bye bye Mt., hello house on the prairie

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This sagebrush scrubland is desolately pretty

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You could see the fall in the mountains where aspens grow near streams

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Here are a few closer up from further up the road

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Still volcanic land formations as I continued north towards the Sonora Pass turnoff

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Lower Leavitt Meadows, a place for future exploration

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Pretty peaks

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From the pass at 9,600 feet looking back east

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And back on the road

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Whoa, that is a long way down

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It was indeed insanely steep, I’d take it over these sheer cliff faces though

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A big fire nearby killed visibility

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This gives you a tiny idea what the road was like, but this flat part up front was rare

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On to Locke, a town formed in the late 1800’s for chinese immigrants pioneering farming on the delta. This is the school they have put together to display its history

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The town is really cute, with several shops and a bar

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It feels very 1970’s, especially the residential areas

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Former shop

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Some buildings are in disrepair and need some love and money

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There are some very nice gardens in the area

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The morning glory is a nice touch

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Reflections

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Bright

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Heh

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There is a gambling museum, as the area was well known for such vices

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Not sure what this says, perhaps house rules

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Lots of interesting games, they have notes indicating their history and use

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And the all-important safe in the back room

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Next time I might have redwoods in the snow.

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Find a Rainbow in the Falls

Yikes, I’m terrible with posting and apologize (takes a couple hours to select, organize, resize and post). This week we have photos from the end of my trip to Mono/Mammoth over in Devil’s Postpile National Monument.

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A real highlight besides the pile is

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This wonderful creek comes from up north and is a headwaters for the San Joaquin river

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Clearly the area has volcanic origins, with the layers and erosion

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I really liked these formations

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The river falls right off this formation and this is the edge on top. I particularly enjoyed the teetering log

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So pretty

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You can see a bowl carved out from the ferocious water (not shown, lol, depth of the drought)

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But still enough water to see the namesake rainbow

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Not quite? It can be a bit hard to see in photographs

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But hey! I got it

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Another refreshing view

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This is what it usually looks like, can you imagine

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This is a soda spring, with carbon dioxide bubbling up from the still volcanically active ground near the pile

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See the bubbles? Lots of algae

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This is a similar, but more mineralized spring

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It was going crazy, think the rush of a soda can opened after shaking but constantly

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The stream bank is eroding the formation, showing off its cool shapes

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Here it is, Devil’s Postpile

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This is a talus field where the hardened lava has fallen off the formation

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Here are the pillars, the lava was a giant pool in this valley and cooled uniformly and slowly (like hundreds of years of cooling), creating these hexagonal blocks

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They are over 100 feet tall

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Across the valley is a granite face

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You can see some deformation of the flow to the right

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The top has been lopped off by glaciers, which scoured away the rest of the formation around here and over 200 feet higher

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It was pretty up top, but dangerous

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You can see the tracks the glaciers left as they dragged by

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It was quite smoky during my visit, due to a very large fire to the southwest about 80 miles, this was the ash on my tent in the morning

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Another fall farewell

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And a beautiful lake to remind you of summer

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And a very smoky, but sexy, sunset

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No words

 

Up next, the stupefying Sonora Pass!

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