Last weekend’s double storm system brought much needed moisture to the Big Santa Anita Canyon. The San Gabriel mountains, along with most of Southern California, received a brief reprieve from the lengthy drought. Multitudes of canyons received enough rain (little snow) to thoroughly scour out the stream beds. The black organic mat which had affixed itself to all the rocky and sandy bottoms of streams and pools the last couple of years was washed away in just a few days.
White and tan sands have once again come into view. Pools that had decreased in depth have deepened. This is good news, not only from the standpoint of esthetics, but for wildlife. Fish and other creatures will benefit from this natural cleansing. Spawning will now become possible. Water temperatures will decrease and available oxygen will increase. This change is good for everyone.
Our rain gauge near Fern Lodge Junction, not far from Chantry Flats, received over 7.36″ of combined rain from the two storms. The sounds of a tumbling mountain stream have returned and the myriad of organic scents are throughout the Big Santa Anita and Winter Creeks. Especially noticeable is the staccato call of the Canyon Wren, with the descending notes reminiscent of laughter followed by a quick little question…. The dust is gone for now and everything gleams clean and green.
The attached photo was taken last Sunday just above Sturtevant Falls on the Upper Falls Trail. Notice that the water has been colored by the tannins of fallen leaves and abundant organics from the mountain soils. A hopeful big leaf canyon maple puts out her fresh leaves and catkins.