"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Friday, May 11, 2012

Take me back to Green River--Putah Creek, California

Creedence Clearwater Revival sang about a green river in the late 1960s, about barefoot girls and cool water, and it happened to be this particular river was Putah Creek, a mere sixty-nine miles from the city of San Francisco. So on one sultry May day we took our city slicking baby to this fabled setting for some bare-bottom bathing....

Turns out the water was about fifty degrees and fast flowing, so although the baby's bottom was bare, only her legs up to the knees went into the cold, green water. 

Putah Creek is a lovely mint-tea color, clear near the shore, wide, and apparently full of good eating trout, or so some high school boys told us. Oaks grow all around, and cottonwood trees drop so much white fuzz on the trails it looks like snow

We were fortunate to see a baby Pacific rattlesnake,well camouflaged among fallen leaves and dirt, and more fortunate that my husband, clad in sandals with big bare toes hanging out, didn't step on it. Only one or two rattles were on its tail, but babies are reputed to be fierce. With the high school boys watching beside us, it slithered away, whip-cracking fast.

The town of Winters is close by with plenty of provisions and nearby camping (we camped in a fig orchard the night before). The fishing area we hiked is in verdant foothills dotted with oaks and golden poppies. 

Putah Creek would be great on an Indian summer day with a passel of long-haired hippies and a potluck under the cottonwoods. In the meantime I'll dip my piggies in and call it a party