"Nature is the medium in which life transpires,"
Scott Russel Sanders on Wendell Berry.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 9: South Yuba River State Park

11 June, 2011

South Yuba River State Park

Today, I visited South Yuba River for the first time which surprises me a bit given its elevated status among many of my friends and relatively short distance from Davis. My friend Karl volunteered to be my guide again and off we went.

We began our short stroll at the base of a bridge that crossed the river, traversed the fairly rocky but short trail to an outcropping of rocks, and then lounged like lizards on large boulders that protruded midstream. Stream is too modest a word for the power of the river on this particular day. The water roared to a deafening pitch, we had to yell to hear each other above it; it seemed the entire river turned to rapids—no frog water here.

Although, we did see a frog, or perhaps a toad, my skill identifying amphibians is poor. Raptors, however, are another story, I caught a glimpse of what looked like a golden eagle and watched a turkey vulture soar.

A waterfall emptied into the river just upstream, and I alternated my naps in a granite papasan carved out by the water with gazing out over the scene—a trance-like state induced by the rushing water.

The butterflies were much more active than I. Five small lavender butterflies danced around my head as I explored some the rocks near the waterfall. Western tiger swallowtails (Papilius rutulus) zipped and twirled together over and beside the river.

Later we decided to drive down to another part of the park and jostled down a dirt road in my little Corolla behind a small dark SUV whose movements revealed trepidation about continuing on. After a few minutes the SUV stopped, the driver and passenger got out and told us they were going to turn around. We were exploring new terrain, but felt confident enough in our direction to tell them there is a bridge across the river down here somewhere. The woman eyed us suspiciously, and decided that they would still turn around. We went around them and within a minute could hear the roar of the river.

The late rains made the hills around the trails lush with vegetation and a plethora of poison oak. There were still some wildflowers scattered about. At one point, the smell of lupine and wild rose was so strong I had to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. By late afternoon, the sunshine and the sound of the river put me into a bit of a stupor.

On our way home, we stopped to enjoy Nevada City and contributed to the local economy of the area surrounding the park.

Folks4Parks posted this quote on Facebook from a meeting regarding the parks on June 10th:

"The average visitor to a State Park generates $58 to the local economy surrounding that park." -John Severini, CA Travel Industry Association.

Another interesting, but unsubstantiated,tidbit is that parks generate more revenue in sales tax in the surrounding communities then California is “saving” by closing them.

If you are interested in getting active around the Yuba River, I suggest you check out South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) at

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