California is home to a myriad of environments, geology, soils, and plants. Being from an environment dominated by asphalt and concrete, I never appreciated the natural beauty of California. By visiting the Eel River CZO in northern California, I found a new side of the Golden State. One that is raw, unspoiled with untamed rivers and wildlife that I am now proud to associate with California.
The trip to Eel River CZO is not a simple one. First, me and my fellow CZO travellers had to escape the urban sprawl of the bay area, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francsico. It was nearly a 4 hour drive, that went from the 101 to back roads, to dirt road, then behind gates into the Angelos Reserve. After venturing beyond the locked fence, we were surrounded with inspiring trees and unspoiled ravines that the Spanish conquistadors must have encountered back before California became associated with gold and movies.
The streams are home to algae that feed marine environments and the steelhead trout and other salmonidae. The soils very shallow due to the active geology and steep slopes. Thus, the regolith (broken and weathered bedrockrock) must make up the difference to quench the thirst of the douglas firs, redwoods, and oaks.
The land is made up many opposites. The native oaks standing proud above invasive grasses. The fish that rely on heavy rains and swollen rivers to breed. The crumbly bedrock that gives birth to shallow soils. It was a fantastic trip and reminds me of the pride and luck I have being part of the CZO Network!