So, we drove to the lake and took a short hike down a path beside a water channel.
The development of all of these ditches and canals extended from around 1850 until the turn of the century.
During the early settlement of the Amador County, the major industries were gold mining, timber, and cattle raising. These early settlers, in order to obtain water for domestic, municipal and agricultural uses, diverted the water from larger rivers and streams.
increased for power, the Upper Standard Canal was built and water was diverted a half mile upstream from the present PGand E Tiger Creek Powerhouse. The Upper Standard Canal followed the same course as an earlier canal but remained at a higher elevation. This water was subsequently released into Tabeaud Reservoir and then could be released into the Amador Canal. It appears that this is still the case.
It's a beautiful canal. From the parking lot to the pump area is a short walk.
And this sign tells you that you had better not mess with any of it.
Pacific, Gas and Electric can sound very official in some really beautiful places, but they have had power grids blown up (here in California) so they don't mess around.
We walked back up to the canal and watched the water fall to a different level as it flowed back toward the road.
It said, NO SWIMMING
His owner pulled him out of the shallow water and stopped to talk for a minute. We said we were trying to find a road that would get us over to the river canyon. He gave us detailed directions about how to do this. We thanked him and he and his dog walked on down the road.
We walked back to the car, drove around the edges of the lake and a few miles later, we found the trail head... right where the man had told us it was. Another car was parked there too. This reminded me of Geocaching only this time we were trying to find flowers, not hidden treasure.
or Waylon Jennings....
...They say those California girls are fine
They know how to really walk your mind
Well, one of you get ready 'cause you're mine
I'm headin' for that California sunshine."
And, of course... The Beach Boys singing about beaches and bikinis, wishing all girls "...could be California girls."
It was a magic word back then... California. I'm sure these songs were written about a day like this one. Blue skies, warm breezes, sunshine........flowers in my hair.
Oh, man. Sorry! I got caught up in the 60's for a moment.
The Prospector and I walked to the top of the ridge.
There was a lot of green grass, small white flowers (California fairy poppies or meconella) and Fiddleneck (Amsinckia retrorsa).
And this... a fiddleneck unfurled.
And one that the Prospector showed me (without picking it).
I believe this is called Common Brodiaea or Blue dick, desert hyacinth?..(this certainly isn't the desert.)... or even more likely, a different Brodiaea, called a Twining Brodiaea or twining snakelily. This wildflower did have a twining stem.
The only poppies we saw were a few miles west on another hillside.
There they were... in all their orangeluminous beauty. I was beginning to think I should stop the madness and just go back to the small display of poppies on my own property, put my macro lens on, and do some 1:1 close-ups of the flowers near my house.
I was a bit disappointed, but I still had some other options. I had directions from another Facebook "poppy lover", who had taken pity on me and given me very good directions to the area off of Ponderosa Way. Should I come up here again? Should I obsess until I find the gold at the end of the rainbow?
Well, at that moment, I had to get the Prospector off the ridge area before I lost him to what he thought was an old tertiary river bed with some very interesting rocks in it.
He was getting that gleam in his eyes.
I might have lost him forever if I didn't make him start back to the car with me. The rock was an interesting lode type rock that could have started a serious dry-washing project... so it was time to move on.
(Why is this being written in orange? Because I went on another Poppy quest today and found what I was looking for. Wait until you see the beautiful photos tomorrow.
I found Poppy Heaven on Electra Rd.... That sounds like the title of a good song doesn't it? Stay tuned.)