A Wild Day at the American River

Sunday, April 30, 2017 9:30 am

Water is flowing fast and flooding the sandy banks, rocks and other land forms where people usually sit and picnic.
American River
This part of the river is called San Juan Rapids because this area is very rocky and usually fairly shallow. Water is always moving swiftly here. Today, far faster and deeper than any other time.

During the summer I can sit on a rock and dangle my feet into shallow water to cool off. More water will come as melted snow rushes down navigates through the Sierra Nevada mountains into the American River.

To my far left, I catch a quick glance at a family of Canada Geese emerging from the rocks and walking into a quiet, shallow area between rocks for a swim. Nine tiny goslings and their parents. My first sighting of babies this year! On my ride back home, I see a skinny little snake about 12” long in the middle of the bike path. I dragged it to the dirt and the back half of its body wriggled and curved. The top half was still. I think it was near death. I let it lay in peace.

Two more skinny snakes sun themselves on the warm pavement – on closer look, one is dead and the other hurriedly slithers away as soon as it senses my presence. Snakes come off the grass and into the bike path to catch some sun and run over by speeding cyclists who may not see them.

lizard, American River Parkway, wildlife

I see a lizard crawling and stop to do pushups on the ground as it watches me. Later I see a second lizard on the bike trail. Its life is obviously over.

Two Canada geese roam the shoreline at Jim’s Bridge, still closed to pedestrians and bicyclists. Now that I cannot cross here to ride home, I cycle back toward Fair Oaks Village to load my bike on my car and drive home.