Courtright Reservoir

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As the sun warms the ground of the San Joaquin Valley, the ground in turn heats the adjacent air. This warm, moist air then moves upward and is pushed toward the Sierras. As the air ascends it cools and once it reaches its dew point clouds form. On the day that I took the photos on this page(10/5/2008), clouds rolled in and blanketed the reservoir in fog. Because the water level was very low, there was a substantial distance between the tree line and the water's edge. This belt of dry lake bed was an eerie landscape to explore.  The fog was thick enough to  obscure the tree line when I was little more than 100 yards out.  I walked among the weathered, water bleached tree stumps which reminded me literally of a grave yard . . . the stumps being grave markers of trees. PG&E cleared the trees decades ago to make room for the reservoir.

Click here to see Panoramic Images of Courtright Reservoir as seen from
a granite dome on the west shore (click here to open in it's own window).

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Notice the band of dry lake bottom dotted with tree stumps.

As I walked away from the tree line, this scene opened up before me. Because the fog was thick, I lost sight of the tree line and all that I could see was a dotted landscape of tree stumps -- a specter of the former forest. It was surreal. 

I enjoyed closely inspecting the tree stumps. The lapping water of Courtright's waxing and waning reservoir cleared most of the soil away from the roots of the old trees exposing a fantastic knot of roots.  It was a great way of exploring a root system and learning how roots work around rocks in the soil. Fascinating!

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Last Updated: 10/14/2008