|Standing on the Dana Fork, close to the headwaters of the Tuolumne River in January of 2012 (when no snow had yet fallen)|
|The Tuolumne River flows through the flat valley of Tuolumne Meadows, the location of a 2,000 foot deep ice sheet during the ice ages. The longest glaciers of the Sierra Nevada, 40 miles long, originated here.|
But there are significant deviations. In the high country of the Sierra Nevada, the river flows across a mostly horizontal landscape for a number of miles. Tuolumne Meadows could almost be described as a swampy stretch of river, especially during the spring runoff in wet years. Then the river plunges headlong into a deep gorge, complete with waterfalls and cascades that would be more characteristic of the headwaters.
|Into the river at LaGrange Bridge|
Tuolumne River Trust. The trip was a three mile long canoeing expedition (the river is 149 miles long, thus 2% of the river), from the Old LaGrange Bridge to the Old Basso Bridge. It was a yearly event, the "Paddle with the Salmon" trip. This part of the river flows among the lowest foothills of the Sierra Nevada, just a few miles upstream from where the river emerges onto the floor of the Great Valley at Waterford.
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve near Antioch). We drove past exposures of the Ione where we got onto the river.
|The biggest terrifying rapid of the day! When one of the canoes got hung up on a rock, the trip leader hopped out of her raft, walked over the canoe, and moved it along. Yeah, the river was kind of low...|
8 foot long salmon with large teeth variably described as tusks or saber-teeth. Despite the fearsome teeth, they probably fed on small prey. If you would like to learn more about the salmon and the turtles, check out the new exhibit at the Great Valley Museum at Modesto Junior College.
Tuolumne River Trust for allowing me to join in on their journey.