pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Permanente Creek 5: Heritage Oaks Park to Foothill Expressway

Permanente Creek 5: Heritage Oaks Park to Foothill Expressway

D. and I have been trying to follow Permanente Creek from San Francisco Bay to its source. Here's the next stretch we covered, beginning in Heritage Oaks Park in the neighboring town of Los Altos.

A little statue of a horse prances on someone's front lawn across the street from the park.

Heritage Oaks Park has a few olive trees. Here's some of their olives.

Elderberries grow up high on the banks of the creek.

The creekbed is dry here, as we head south, upstream.

Here's one of a few structures we called "turbulators."

We don't really know what they're called or if their purpose is indeed to create turbulence in the stream. But it's a convenient way to refer to the structure, rather than saying "Here's another one of those concrete things that makes the creek go over a little waterfall and continue bubbling along down its course."

D. in the channel, in a section reinforced with sack concrete.

We saw many huge oaks in sections of the natural channel with unreinforced banks whose roots had been completely undercut by previous floods. One strong gust of wind or another bad flood and those precariously-anchored trees will come crashing down into the creek. 

Looking along the banks at the backyard fences of the surrounding neighborhood, we see another horse statue, looking a little worse for wear compared to the previous one.

This one looks kind of like a carousel pony and was probably salvaged from somewhere.

There were tons of blackberries along the creek.

We saw evidence that someone had relatively recently cut back the longest canes to keep them from completely choking off the creekbed. We tip our hats to you, kind sir or ma'am. 

No shortage of spiders here.

Here's a backyard wall of a house on Miramonte Ave. in Los Altos.

The 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom house happenned to be on the market at the time and the asking price was $2.5 million. Three weeks later it was on the auction block; no takers.

Eventually we begin to see some trickles of water above ground.

Even here in well-to-do Los Altos, we found trash in the creek. 

We quickly encountered a steady flow of water --- still shallow here, but not disappearing underground anymore like it did during stretches further downstream.

The channel soon becomes very overgrown.

Here's a rock with unusual patterns in it on the creekbank.  They look almost like clusters of seashells embedded in it.

We saw spreading radiation!   People will throw anything in the creek!

Just past the Fremont Ave. overpass, the channel becomes impassable.

We must go up to the street to look for another access point farther upstream.

The 1915 bridge over the creek at Fremont Ave. where we climbed up the bank.

Smartass sign at driveway along Fremont Ave.

We find ourselves in the section of Los Altos called Loyola Corners.

All but a couple of the establishments along the road there were closed. What's a shopper to do? 

This must be the seedy section of tony Los Altos.

I guess they have tiny silos at that place. 

We see colorful cosmos in someone's front yard.

Right at the Foothill Expressway overcrossing, we found a way back down to the creek.

Naturally, the tunnel under the Expressway is full of graffiti. 

Looking downstream in the Foothill Expressway tunnel.

The tunnel is dark and wet, full of bugs, splashes and echoes.

I had nightmares that night about the tunnel and something chasing me. It didn't help that I'd seen an enormous spider right outside the tunnel just before going in (I tried to take a pic but my camera couldn't focus on it).

Looking upstream in the Foothill Expressway tunnel.

Vines make a curtain at the upstream end of the tunnel.

It was completely impassible. We could go no further.

We could not find any public access to the creek between the Foothill Expressway and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in the Los Altos Hills. It was all ritzy neighborhoods and narrow, winding roads full of "Private Driveway" and "No Parking Any Time" signs, with cul-de-sacs full of homes whose backyards went right down to the creek. Time to plan an alternate access route.

Tags: field trip, foothill expressway, permanente creek

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