Fight the Amoral Fight

Desert Spring

By: sp34n119w, 9:20 PM GMT on March 31, 2008

Well, my purpose was to post the photos from my trip to Joshua Tree National Park in two separate series... turns out that, to do that, I'd have to upload them on two separate days (didn't know that - duh). Since I don't know what's happening in my life tomorrow and tomorrow is day 7... let's just say that it is unlikely that I'd be able to get that done.
So, I have 28 photos posted in one series! No, I don't expect that many will look at them all (and, yes, I could have whittled it down a bit), but, at least I'll know where to find them!

Although none of my pics are especially good, I'll put a few that I especially like in here for anyone who loves the desert spring as much as I do.

Anywho. It was a perfect day in the park. High temp of only about 72┬║ in the upper desert portion and just a little breezy as the day wore on. It was warmer in the lower desert (low 80's by the time we got there) but still warmer as we left the park and headed east towards home, even though the sun was setting. We had sunshine all day (I got the burn to prove it!) and it was nice and dry without being uncomfortable in the least. Perfect!

I was hoping for lots of flowers and thought I might be late, but, now I think I was early! There were the itty-bitty wildflowers, lots of just-blooming Joshuas and quite a lot of Yucca Trees in full or near-full bloom. The various cacti were only budding, save one and the Cholla were covered in yellow buds. Ocotillos, too, were just getting started, and just one had open flowers on one spike.
It's been a week since I was there and I bet it's gorgeous, now.

Updated: 9:42 PM GMT on March 31, 2008


1928 Dam Disaster

By: sp34n119w, 9:16 PM GMT on March 12, 2008

Today, March 12, marks the 80th anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster. The resulting flood had an indelible effect on the entire Santa Clara River Valley and on Santa Paula.

From the wikipedia article on the St. Francis Dam disaster:
The St. Francis Dam was a concrete gravity-arch dam, designed to create a reservoir as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The dam was located 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Los Angeles, California, near the city of Santa Clarita. The dam was built between 1924 and 1926 under the supervision of William Mulholland, chief engineer and general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (then called the Bureau of Water Works and Supply).

Three minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928, the dam catastrophically failed, and the resulting flood killed more than 600 people. The collapse of the St. Francis Dam is the worst American civil engineering failure of the 20th century and remains the second-greatest loss of life in California's history, after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and fire, and it marked the end of Mulholland's career.

Five years ago, the California Oil Museum in Santa Paula provided an exhibit chronicling the events of that night and the aftermath. On Sunday they will reveal a new exhibit with additional photographs and recollections as well as a return of the world's longest map at over 70 feet that shows the elevation of the area from the Owens Valley and Antelope Valley where the aqueduct was constructed.

Today's edition of the Santa Paula Times has three wonderful articles related to the disaster. One on the exhibit, another on the questions still surrounding the failure, and one on an audio collection of stories from those who were affected by the event. The Times has not yet put this edition online and I will link it when they do.

If you are interested in learning about the Santa Clara River watershed and what is being done to preserve and make use of it here is a good site:
The Santa Clara River Parkway is a project of the California State Coastal Conservancy, in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy's LA-Ventura Project, Friends of the Santa Clara River, private landowners and local governments, to acquire and restore floodplain land along the lower Santa Clara River for habitat, flood protection, and recreation.

The river is still a vital part of life in this mainly agricultural community and, despite its many dams, it still has the power to impact our lives. In 2005, Santa Paula was completely isolated from the rest of the world and the airport lost a third of its runway when heavy rain required a release of water from the dam at Piru, causing flooding along the river.

This is a story of the power of weather, for sure, and of human foibles. It is also the story of Southern California and how it was made from the dessert.

Ha! Look at that - I spelled desert "dessert" - and nobody told me! Guess I know who my friends aren't, huh? LOL
Hmmm... more likely, nobody read that far and, now that I reread it, it's pretty funny :)
I promised to drop a link to the Santa Paula Times articles when they got them online and they have done. So, for those who would like to know more...

Updated: 7:14 AM GMT on March 17, 2008


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Fight the Amoral Fight

About sp34n119w

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke

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