15 March 2015

Elderberry Forebay (Castaic Lake)

Angeles National Forest

I have been up Fish Canyon and up Cienaga Canyon (north along Castaic Creek), but have not been along the Elderberry Forebay. A road goes down along the edge and to the main body of the lake. First, of course, I have to get down along the paving to the junctions. Today was expected to be hotter than yesterday, but for now a layer of clouds is holding the effect of the sun at bay.

arm of the lake
A peek at the closest arm of Castaic Lake.

canyon into the mountains
Fish Canyon.

The area is not much to look at past Fish Canyon. It is dominated by the pipes coming down the hill across the water, or where there could be water, for the power plant. Pools in front of it are lined with young tamarisk. They are particularly thirsty invasive plants. Further from the water level, a few old ones are putting up pink blooms.

a broom of pink
Tiny blossoms of pink on an invasive tamarisk.

wad of orange wires
A bit of parasitic California dodders produce a wiry orange.

six huge pipes coming down the hill
The power plant across the way.

As I get past the plant and by the actual water, things improve. The water side of the road is lined with barbed wire with signs warning against going near the water, which is "subject to rapid fluctuation". That would be interesting to see. The plant is quiet today except for a couple trucks moving around.

panorama from sign to canyon along water
Along the forebay.

brown and striped
Another road user, stretched across the middle half. No rattle, no wide jaw, and actually those are not diamonds, but I will sneak around the back of it slowly anyway.

Down on a beach beside the lake, there is a guy hanging about. He wanders around for a while then lies down for longer. I can spot him from many places as I go along. It is surprising since I have seen no fresh indication of other travelers after maybe a couple miles along. There were about six cars at the trailhead when I started, so perhaps it is not so odd.

a few pine trees in the mounth of a canyon
Elderberry Canyon, the only spot that shows water coming in.

bird with a bobbing thing on its head
One quail along the road, more behind it that are only heard.

The road turns away from the lake near the dam on the forebay. Dozer paths lead down around pine trees on the hills in loops, but do not seem to go anywhere. A little further, one side of the road seems to have an orchard and the other has a stand of well spaced eucalyptus.

evenly spaced short trees
An out of the way orchard.

pines on a hill with the dam behind
Pines on the hillside above the dam.

The sun comes out as I poke around. The heat is instant and oppressive as it does, but at least it should start reducing again with the hour, soon. The guy from the beach pops over a hill, then seems to be looking for a way to sneak away. He stands there for a while before proceeding very slowly toward the lake again. Sometimes these humans are curious creatures.

water up to the usual high water line
Elderberry Forebay from near the dam. The water seems to be about as high as it goes.

very low lake
Castaic Lake below this smaller, internal dam is very low.

After a while, I head back. As expected, it is getting cooler in the direct sunlight and is quickly not so oppressive. Along the way, there is a velvet ant and huge grasshopper. In the taller bushes, male red shouldered blackbirds are shrugging to show off the red and shouting, "I'm here!" while a female checks them out.

crack in the earth
A smaller canyon along the way that also shows signs of water even if not on the surface.

large grasshopper
Nice, big grasshopper among the weeds.

another look at the forebay
Elderberry Forebay and Castaic Canyon Road.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 20 March 2015

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