Monday, July 14, 2008

Wading the North San Gabriel

Last weekend, my wife Marlene and I waded the North San Gabriel River with our dog Molly. It was a clear hot day, perfect for wading. We were in search of dinosaur footprints, which I had been told could be found on this stretch of the San Gabriel.

The river was beautiful--crystal clear water flowing gently over solid rock bottoms. As we made our way upstream, a heron flew overhead and cricket frogs called from the banks. Because of the sparse rainfall this spring and summer, the river was low, less than a foot in most places, which made wading easy. Molly had a great time splashing around, chasing minnows and small bass.

We walked for a mile and half and didn't see another person. Half a mile upstream we passed 40-foot cliffs. Great chunks of limestone, almost perfectly rectangular and looking like they were cut from a quarry, lay in the river bed. Further on we passed several deeper pools, where Molly was able to swim around without touching bottom. At one point, underground springs fed cool water into the river and the water temperature dropped dramatically. Vines hung overhead, providing natural swings over the water. As we walked upstream, we searched diligently for the dinosaur footprints, but without success.

After about an hour of walking, we turned around and headed back, convinced that the dinosaur tracks were either covered in mud, or worn away, or maybe never existed. I happened to look down, and there next to the river was a foot-long dinosaur print, perfectly preserved in the hard limestone. Several additional tracks, more weathered and less obvious, extended back in a clear trackway. Alone on the river, it was easy to imagine a dinosaur slowly lumbering across the muddy river bottom 100 million years ago, leaving the beautiful tracks that, against all odds, have survived to this day.

1 comment:


Nice to find another nature blog for the Texas area! I started blog about the flora and fauna of the south central regions. The San Gabriel River looks beautiful, I didn't know much about it until finding and reading about it on your blog. I will have to check it out in the near future!