Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dry Times: East & West Forks Lions Creek

East Fork Falls

As the drought has unfolded I've developed a curiosity about which of our backcountry water sources   are still producing some flow. Granted, most drainages out there are stunningly dry, but I've seen a couple places lately that have withstood the trend to a degree. With a half day of free time on my hands I decided on a quick circuit between the east and west forks of Lions Creek. 

In a normal year there are pleasant falls up both forks, happily little gushers crashing into turquoise pools framed by cobbled conglomerate rock. Both falls are sheltered by magnificent old sycamores which caste a deep and dappled shade over the bubbling creek as it descends the rocky drainage. On a warm spring day each of these becomes an Eden of sorts, beautiful little gems of the Los Padres. 

I was hoping. But it was not to be. As a man once said, "Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first." So no, there isn't any water at either falls. Immediately below East Lions there were a few stagnant pools of buggy water. The story at the West Falls was little better. No flow over the falls, but in the forested creek below there was a stretch of trickling ground water, feeding several shallow pools. A six inch trout swam unhurried laps from from one end of his 15ft puddle to the other. Water walkers, dragonflies, butterflies, and an itinerant Anna's hummingbird completed the scene. In the overhead canopy a gentle breeze ruffled the leaves, a dove flapped from branch to branch. I leaned back against rough bark and listened to the forest for a bit before gathering myself for the return trip. She told me she is thirsty.

The Creek descending from East Fork Lions.

This is the time in summer when the prickly stuff blooms.
The creek below West Fork Falls (and below).

Thorn Point from the Lions Connector Trail


  1. I just read in the LATimes, that peoples home well's in East Porterville have begun to run dry. The City is supplying the affected residence with bottled water. This is going to get mui interesting.

  2. Yeah, people also have no attention span these days. If we get any kind of El Nino rains this year this will all be forgotten until the next time. But if nott... it will definitely get interesting. That's one word for it. -DS