As I entered Lawrence Moore Park this evening, it was still about 80 degrees out. As I turned into the trail, I took the picture above to show how the lack of rain in just the past few weeks has turned the green grass brown. Then I saw that my landmark cottonwood tree (below) was dressed in green again.
Would you believe people were actually swimming in the river when I hiked the trail today? I asked the first person I saw if there was still water in the river, since she was coming from that direction. She said, “Yes. There’s kids swimming over there.” I headed off in the direction from which she had come and saw another woman approaching in a swim suit. She confirmed the report of the first woman. I kept going, but then was thwarted in my quest by….water. I was not dressed for wading, and although I could hear the kids in the distance, I couldn’t get close enough to actually see them. They are on the other side of the bushes you see in the background, and to get to them I would have to cross smaller portions of the river.
The children weren’t the only ones swimming. This is the first time I’ve ever seen ducks in the river.
I would like to point out that where I’m walking and taking these pictures from the riverbed were covered with water at the beginning of March. You can look back in previous posts to compare. Back then, the river was all the way up to the bank and even overflowing in some places. You can see my article contrasting the wet and dry seasons with more pictures at The Two Seasons of the Salinas River.
After I left the riverbed I wanted to see if the poison hemlock and milk thistle were blooming yet, as I expected. Sure enough, they were. You can see their flowers below.
Do you remember the park bench I showed you that was surrounded by high grasses, foxtails, thistles, and poison hemlock in earlier posts — that same bench with the poison hemlock growing right through the seat? Here is that same bench a month later.
After I took this picture, I couldn’t walk back home until I dealt with this problem.