Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Chimacum Creek Posted by Hello

the picture was taken this morning at 9:30 am. low tide was a modestly low +5.2. click on it for a bigger view.

i am reminded by reading chris clarke at creek running north of an awareness invoked in me over thirty years ago by the naturalist peter warshall about knowing one's watershed. i lived then just outside fortuna ca in a small canyon just above a small creek. i never found a name for it but as the place was called picnic gulch on old maps i called it picnic creek. since then i have lived beside darkey creek (oh yeah, old names are not politically correct) in siskyou county, near soquel creek and then noble gulch creek , and then with carbonera creek thirty feet out the back door, all in santa cruz county. a creek that close is a decidedly mixed blessing; wonderful most of the year with ducks and myriad birds and a nice splashing sound trying to cover the freeway noise. it is also the animal highway for skunks and raccoons and in the winter can rise twelve feet above normal in a downpour, threatening what was left of the yard after disastrous floods in 1982 (before we moved there).

now we live a quarter mile up a gentle slope from the lower reach of chimacum creek on the quimper peninsula in washington state. we can't hear or see it from our house of course, but then we will never be worried about flooding. there is a nice walk we often take that leads along the north bank of the forested canyon the creek runs through before emptying into port townsend bay, an offshoot of puget sound. we see bald eagles, ducks, seagulls, lots of crows, and blue herons, which make a noise like a crow on steroids.

chimacum creek begins about 8 miles south of us and flows north (hi chris) through a shallow valley maybe 1/2 mile wide. it looks to be beautiful dark bottom land that is mostly pasture and hay, although there are vegetable gardens and one place with a cornfield. it turns eastward a mile south of us and is hidden in thick forest til it reaches almost sea level and flows through the most beautiful tidal estuary, still bordered by forest, at the bottom of a winding canyon. at low tide the creek is a shallow channel meandering through mud flats. at high tide, often eight feet above low, the estuary is an extension of the bay a half mile long, deep enough for people in rowboats and kayaks to paddle leisurely through.

for another watershed piece go to sparkleberry springs.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old post, but carbonera creek and branciforte creek meet up just behind my house, and I did a search because I was wondering if anyone had tried kayaking it after some heavy rains. Well, a few weeks ago I went for it and it was pretty damn fun! Hoping it rains hard again soon so I can kayak in my local watershed. Peace!