A Small Red “Y”
February 27, 2010 § 4 Comments
A very interesting day! We visited several sections of the Eagle Rock canyon on a quest to find sycamores that predate development. It is amazing that despite the scale of engineering and earthmoving that resulted in 1.) the building of the 134 freeway over foothill terrain 2.) an entire complex of utilities related buildings and an access road to Scholl Canyon Dump being built over the streambed– that the stream continues to flow, as if nothing has ever changed!
All this urban complexity means that the landscape around the stream appears radically different (if it’s above ground at all) in different places. Depending on where you are, you might only see concrete under your feet and utility lines overhead. In another section, you might look down from the road and see sycamores growing near the base of steep canyon walls.
The most idyllic part of the canyon is the far upper reaches, which still show a similar same palette of vegetation as recorded by a crew under Wieslander in 1928, save for some very old introduced trees.
I was thankful to be with plant people. Barbara Eisenstein pointed out monkey flower, and Ceanothus crassifolius, which was in full bloom.
It was amazing to think that only a couple generations ago, this same mix of vegetation extended all the way down the canyon past the Eagle Rock. This reminds me of the passage by Helen and Francis Line, who lived right at the Eagle Rock, from January 1945:
Shortly after we moved here to our home last January 26, the buckthorn bloomed. It has come early this season and the hills are already turning white again. Each of the eleven months that we have been here– save one or two– has seen wild shrubs and flowers in blossom;– the buckthorn, monkey flower, buckwheat, toyon, and wild tobacco.
By a wonderful stroke of luck, we also met someone who knew about the history of the canyon, who offered information to corroborate something told to me by one of Eagle Rock’s most illustrious oldtimers. More on this later.
The lower part of Eagle Rock Creek, which used to be the central feature of a well-known local park is described at Myriad Unnamed Streams.