Sunday, July 5, 2020 7:30 am 68 degrees
River is usually quiet this time of year. Resident ducks and Canada geese fly in. I saw a cormorant fly twice over the water. I always look for spider webs – so many, with lots of captured flies.
The sun glitters like stars reflecting in the water. The reflection moves with me as I walk across the bridge.
Sometimes I see turtles sitting in a log that lies alongside the bridge. Today I saw three of them. One at a time they climbed out of the water on the log to sunbathe. I point them to walkers on the bridge. A Sacramento County Sheriff officer wandered over. He thought since three of us are looking over the side of the bridge, something must have happened. I told him we are looking at the turtles underneath the bridge on the log. After being assured everything was okay, he walked away.
Once I venture on the paved bike trail or even the dirt trails alongside the river, it is so peaceful and beautiful. It is easy to forget the setting is surrounded by suburban development. This could be anywhere. The only clue is the homes sitting on the edge of or near Fair Oaks Bluff. No sound today except for the rushing water. I see some soft ripples where the depth of the water changes. Water is so shallow here, visitors walk to the center and it is only waist high. A gentle breeze blows across my face.
I stand at the boat launch ramp watching the geese clean themselves as their morning ritual. They twist their necks in all directions. I leave home and often forget to bring them food.
A family of four (two parents and two young boys) walked down the ramp. The older boy was scared of the geese. A dozen of them were scouring the boat launch ramp looking for tidbits to eat. The boy refused to walk down the ramp to pose with his brother – to avoid standing too close to the geese. I said the geese are not to be afraid of. I am here all the time. Kneel or sit down and they think you are not here. They are not afraid. Being them food and they will love you forever. Parents thanked me as they left with their family photos.
I meet a lot of people. Some watch the scene, others read. Others walk by and some cyclists ride as if they were on a marathon. Several men are standing in the river fishing. I saw one fly fishing. He cast his line way out and it landed. Then he cast his line way out again before pulling it out again.
Fair Oaks Bridge and the American River that surrounds it, means so many different things to its visitors.
Saturday, June 13, 2020 630 am 54 degrees
Sharing sites from my walks and rides along the American River. I found two labyrinths on the American River Parkway bike trail. A huge one near Rossmoor Bar picnic and beach area. The labyrinth below is located a few minutes walk east of Fair Oaks Bridge. Butterflies are busy pollinating flowers. Spring flowers “pop out” all over! Wildlife also continue to engage in traditional daily and seasonal rituals. Is it possible that people are the only ones whose lives have been interrupted, paused or lost this year?
Sunday, September 18, 2016 635 am
When I arrive at Fair Oaks bridge, the sun has yet to rise over distant trees on the opposite shore of the American River. I focus my attention on the river landscape and notice so many different habitats for wildlife here. The roosters are the most obvious – they are always the loudest! I have seen Great Blue Herons on the river, Egrets, Canada Geese and a wide variety of ducks. I saw an owl one time and river otters occasionally. Trees, fallen logs, shrubs, and the island farther upstream are excellent hiding places. The river itself, now more shallow than it has been in a long while, creates homes too. The bridge is also home to bats hidden underneath in specially formed concrete slots.Read more
I look forward to the magic moments of morning on Fair Oaks Bridge and American River Parkway to discover and celebrate the gifts of the outdoor world. I often arrive at dawn before the sun rises over the trees and stay for an hour or more to observe, listen, write and photograph.
“I don’t know where it is possible to love the planet or not, but I do know that it is possible to love the places we can see, touch, smell and experience.”
David Orr, Earth in Mind
The American River Parkway is “The Jewel of Sacramento.” Fair Oaks Bluff is the “Crown Jewel.” Fair Oaks Bridge was completed in 1909. It is a “Truss” bridge and a treasured icon for the adjacent community of Fair Oaks. The community of Fair Oaks is located about 15 miles northeast of the city of Sacramento. Fair Oaks Village is widely known for its chickens, whose wake up calls provide music each morning and continue throughout the day. Readers will find chickens featured throughout blog posts in photos and video.
The bridge connects Fair Oaks Village with the American River Parkway, a greenbelt that stretches 37 miles through suburban communities of Sacramento and into the city. The bridge sits alongside Fair Oaks Bluff – also displayed in many photographs within blog posts. The setting is a beautiful place to see, touch, smell and experience!
Monday, September 19, 2016 7 am
Bright light reflects on the water. A cool breeze blows across my face. Today, unlike yesterday, a loud hum echoes from the Sunrise Blvd. bridge crossing as early risers drive to and from Highway 50.
The roosters have already finished their morning wake up calls. A few stragglers are still crowing. Two men float in their boats with fishing lines cast. More cyclists ride by than the same time yesterday. Walkers are out with their dogs. As I walk onto the bridge, an egret flies in on the west side and quickly hides in the shrubbery at the shore. Ducks swim in pairs, searching for breakfast nibbles on insects. Tomorrow I will bring bread to feed them down at the boat launch ramp.Read more
Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 7 am
A cloudless sky. I arrive at 7 am wearing a T-shirt and shorts and put down my backpack. A lone kayaker approaches boat dock after an early morning row. One lone boat – 2 men – casting their fishing rods. I see the same woman jogging today. I wonder how many people I will see that come here as walkers, joggers or dog walkers every day? The bridge is quiet so far, with few cyclists or walkers.Read more
Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7 am
Clouds cover the sky. Raindrops fall on my windshield. In the 10 minutes it takes for me to walk to the river, the sky has already brightened. The raindrops that fall on the bridge quickly evaporate. I feel a cool breeze blow against my face. This is the first moisture of late summer and in a few minutes the drizzle has passed.
Roosters wake up the neighborhood with their calls – one crowing and another responds. Far fewer roosters are awake. Maybe the chill has kept them hiding in trees a little longer?
I know the morning sun has risen over the trees. Yet I cannot see it today hidden behind dense cloud cover.Read more
Searching for Food
After leaving Fair Oaks Bridge Wednesday morning, I stopped to watch this very determined mother hen find food. Her chicks watch with great interest. Listen closely to their high pitched “peeps.” Eventually she and her chicks moved up the hill into the shrubs, not finding anything to eat after so much effort. Fair Oaks chickens wander the village, parks, side streets and fly into trees on both sides of the river. Their morning song carries through the air beginning long before I arrive at 630 am.
The Next Day Mother Hen Sits
After giving away all the bread, my daughter and I leave the boat launch ramp and cross the bridge to return home. I show her the place where the mother hen was searching the day before. We see her on the other side of the street sitting quietly in the dirt. We stand and watch several minutes wondering Why is she so still, not making a sound. Is she injured? When will she move? Then she spreads her feathers and rises up. We see four baby chicks run out from underneath and follow their mother as she climbs up the side of the hill.
“She was keeping her babies warm! Being a good mom!”
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 7:15 am
Morning walkers pass by. We exchange good mornings and smiles. Garage doors lift and shut as residents of the village drive on to the street and away to begin their workday.
A young boy alongside in a boat struggles with his fishing pole sitting in one of the boats alongside two men who are also fishing. The boy gives up, tosses the pole and begins to explore the boat, walking back and forth, checking its bottom for something interesting to examine
Five boats filled with fisherman cast their lines into the cloudy green water. The boats sit at some distance apart on the east side of the bridge. Thousands of salmon will be arriving soon, jumping randomly out the water. They have not yet arrived from their long journey from the Pacific, through the Delta sloughs, up the Sacramento River and into the American River. Many will end their journey near the Fair Oaks Bridge.Read more