Creek Adventure

Sacramento County is flat. Really flat. There are many trees, which is a Very Good Thing™, but thick trees in such a flat land means that you seldom see the horizon. It is so flat here that sweeping vistas can often be had from atop a simple freeway overpass. I miss seeing the sunset or nearby mountain peaks, though the Valley has other charms.

The astonishing flatness of the Sacramento Valley makes the occasional elevation irregularity feel impressive. So it is with Winding Way, a small street in Carmichael that meanders adjacent to Kohler Creek. When you reach the winding part of Winding Way, you are transported from Sacramento’s usual rectilinear street patterns to a twisting path between hillside (!) homes and the leafy, wooded creek bed. It has always fascinated Matthew, who likes to say “there’s a creek down there… Daddy, why is there a creek down there?” For weeks, Daddy has promised Matthew that one day we would find a way to get to the creek so he could see it up close. Today was the day.

At the direction of a dear friend, we found a spot near the American River College campus and parked the car. A few steps from the car, we seemed to have left the valley floor and happened on a mountain stream. It was quiet: the loudest sounds were the soft bubbling of the creek as it flowed around the rocks and the rustling of the leaves in what Matthew aptly dubbed “this jungle.” We hiked a quarter mile or so up the stream, crossing at various points where high stones (and the occasional thoughtfully-placed cinder block) allowed. It seemed rugged and remote, even though a short trip through the jungle underbrush landed us in the courtyard of a small apartment complex.

Paradise? Not exactly. The occasional crushed beer can reminded us that it was more make-out spot than nature preserve. For us, though, it was a welcome change from the manicured suburban parks we usually frequent.

RonRisley – 26 Jun 2005