berryessa lake

  • someone: my zodiac -
  • me: the zodiac killer was a serial killer who operated in northern california in the late 1960s and early 1970s. the killer's identity remains unknown. the zodiac murdered victims in benicia, vallejo, lake berryessa, and san francisco between december 1968 and october 1969. four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. the killer originated the name "zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local bay area press. these letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.

Extensive rains in California have brought an unusual sight to Lake Berryessa - an overflowing spillway. The upper photo, taken in 2010, shows the concrete structure of the spillway’s entrance, known as a bellmouth – or, in the words of locals, a glory hole. When the water level rises above the concrete, water begins to cascade down the spillway to relieve flooding. 

The flow is rather mesmerizing and beautifully laminar until it’s fallen many feet down the hole. This is intentional on the part of the designers – at least the laminar part. It means that the flow velocity at the entrance is slow, so that animals (or trespassing people) nearby are not going to get sucked down the spillway a la Charybdis. Nevertheless, the spillway does make quick work of excess water. The New York Times reported that on February 21st about two million gallons (7.5 million liters) of water a minute flowed down the spillway. (Image credits: J. Brooks; T. Van Hoosear; video credit: Lake Berryessa News; submitted by Zach B.)

A Close Call and a Realization (true story)

About two years ago, a trip to lake Berryessa was anything but typical.
My ex, Erik, and I, went with some of his friends, namely his best friend, Dario, and his fiancé at the time, Mel.
We enjoyed the day in the sun, drank too many apple-flavored shocktops, which were new to me that summer.
The water was very low, as you might remember, during that time, it was the height of the drought.

At some point, Erik, Dario, Mel, her son from a previous relationship, and I, decided to go exploring along the lake’s shore.
We walked quite a while. Along the way, Dario, and Mel’s son ended up to be way ahead of us. It’s probable that part of the reason we ended up behind, was because of the wedged flip flops I was wearing– the incorrect shoe wear made it difficult to traverse the shoreline rocks.
At that time, there were large bays in the shoreline, and I’d had enough struggle in navigating the rocky terrain, so I’d decided to swim across the bay.

I heard Mel jump into the water about 30 seconds afterward. I reached the opposite side of the bay, and began to wring the water from my hair when I heard Erik calling out for me.
It took me a second to focus, but when I did, to my horror, Mel was clinging onto Erik and they both were going under. I dove into the water. I reached them quickly and grabbed her by her arm and shoulder. I flipped her onto her back and floated her toward the other side of the shore. She appeared half conscious or possibly frightened to the point of shock.
Once we arrived at the shore, she came back to ‘life’ fairly quickly.
That’s when my shock set in. It took me a literal minute to gather what had just happened.
I, without consciousness, knew that it was her who was drowning, not he– and knew how to float her to the other side.
I grew up in Hawaii, and have been swimming since a very young age. In fact, I can’t remember when or how I learned. It is so natural to me that I can swim without any effort at all, if I have to, or want to.
What shocked me is that I immediately knew how to save her. I was elated and scared, thankful and confident.
She was embarrassed and I wished otherwise. At that moment, I was just thankful that I could do that for her, being that she hadn’t had the same experience that I did.
Erik immediately tried to take the credit for her rescue, which landed flat, so then he tried to blame me for her behavior, that I caused it, by swimming across the bay.
Perhaps my choices were effected by my past experiences– I was in a memory, when I lived I Hawaii and many of the people I hung around with were Filipino, just as she is, and they all knew how to swim, very well.
I didn’t question her ability– sure, I was not exactly sober, but it WAS her choice to follow me. I did no such elicitation. My feet simply hurt and wanted to get across quickly.

Twenty or so minutes later, at almost the same spot we were when the almost-drowning occurred, I wanted to do more swimming.
At the time it felt as if I wanted to get away from Erik and his accusations– and other feeble-minded attempts he was throwing at me– and to feel free from the situation as a whole.

“Get back here. Now’s not the time to show off,” he griped. I came in for a moment, and told him, along with some reassurances that, “this is what I came here for, to swim and relax with friends,” and I went back out. He was so worried that he waited where he stood.

To the life of me, I could not understand why someone who was just saved by me, would be so worried that I would drown. But nothing he did or said was logical, to this day, I hear stories about his insane way of thinking. This may be true, but it is also true that I do understand why he was worried. He was just involved in a very frightening experience.
I just was having a very hard time adjusting to the realization that around these people, I couldn’t really be me, because the experiences between us all, were far too unparalleled– and never would be, in any way, congruent.

This is a true story, and is a great example for how I feel a lot of the time. I let myself get caught up in people that will always need saving, in one form or another… I just don’t want it anymore. There’s not anything I need from them. Please, me, just stop.

Less than 100 miles north of California’s Bay Area, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument sweeps down from the Snow Mountain Wilderness to the cool blue waters of Lake Berryessa. Established in July of last year, this secluded, hilly expanse of oak woodlands, grasslands and flowery meadows is a gorgeous and peaceful place for all kinds of outdoor recreation. Photo by Jim Eaton, @mypubliclands.


Don’t pray for rain – pray for snow

Story by Diana Marcum

Photos by Robert Gauthier

We looked up at the green road sign for Tamarack, population 9.

It felt like paying homage to the snow gods. Tamarack holds the U.S. record for the deepest snow (454 inches in 1911) and the most Sierra snow in one season (884 inches in the winter of 1906-07).

All the exhortations to pray for rain could be more precisely honed to this: Pray for snow.

C'mon, Tamarack!

It’s snow that holds the water through the winter and come spring melts into gurgling creeks and rivers that fill the reservoirs below. Melted snow is 30% of California’s water supply.

The snowpack this year was the lowest on record. In fact, by some counts, it hit zero percent of normal. The state didn’t even bother with the last survey of the season because there wasn’t enough snow to measure.

This is where it all starts: the top of the watershed.

Driving through the Stanislaus National Forest, we saw pine trees lined up along the road like they were arranged for class photos: the little guys in front, upperclassmen in the back.

In the clearings, there were wildflowers – lacy white clusters and lavender pinwheels with a gold pompom in the middle.

Arlene, who had checked us into a 1960s-era ski lodge in Bear Valley late at night, and then was our waitress at breakfast, had told me we’d see a lot of wildflowers. But she had to repeat it three times because I kept hearing “wildfires.”

So many places we’d passed through were burning. The Rocky fire up by Clear Lake was at 54,000 acres, with 12,000 evacuations. The Wragg fire at Lake Berryessa had jumped containment.  The horse ranch there that we wrote about – home of rescued racehorse Coach Bob – had been evacuated a second time, but escaped the flames.

The morning we left Lake Oroville for the mountains, Murphy had roughhoused with a division of U.S. Forest Service firefighters who said they were missing their dogs back home. One showed me a photo of his 5-month-old German shepherd named Moose.

They were on my mind later that day when I read that a Forest Service firefighter had died while battling a fire near Modoc.

There was no smoke haze here. The sky was bright blue. Pure white clouds exploded in puffs, backlit by the sun like some painting of a heavenly connection.

 A fallen tree lies at the feet of others, months after the Washington Fire burned more than 17,000 acres.

The air was moist, the meadows a breathtaking green. Everything looked – watered.

“I feel almost guilty, seeing this,” said Rob, the photographer. “It’s hopeful. But it’s also like ‘Is this it? Is this the last little bit of the state that’s left? Is it the end of the match?’”

We drove on to Utica Lake in the Spicer Meadow Reservoir area, which also held Union, Alpine, Duck, Rock, Mud, Sword and Lost lakes.

It was a long, flat stretch of perfect between two dams. On the dark blue water there was a red kayak, a long green canoe, a few silver fishing boats and soon Murphy.

The clouds were moving, whites and grays in a do-si-do.  But then all the gray clouds gathered into a charcoal mass on one side. The lake was divided, half in sun, half in shade, with a line down the middle. There was a boom of thunder echoing off granite, and a beat later, cold sprinkles of rain.

I turned my face up like someone on a road trip that mostly went through parched, fire-prone places. Everyone on the lake started coming in because of lightning danger. Everyone except my dog.

I finally lured him out with a stick, but when I tried to grab his collar he ran through a nearby campground and back toward the water. I got him to the car only with the help of a child who offered Murphy his peanut-butter sandwich.

Rob already had the motor running, eager to chase lightning. We started driving. The cold drops of water on the warm road made a low swirling fog of condensation. The trees were shadowed blue-gray and there was the soft percussion of dripping pines and aspens.

It was just an afternoon thunderstorm, a common summer thing in the Sierra. It wouldn’t keep and hold like snow. But after more than two weeks in the drylands, it was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.

This is me and my boyfriend Wesley, he’s in the front :)
We’ve been together going on six amazing months now and plenty more to come! x) 

This picture was from a spontaneous trip to Lake Berryessa were we got lost for a few hours :3 I honestly love him soo much, I’ve never been happier with myself and my current position in life. He’s added soo much to me, we’ve both grown tremendously and will continue to do so ;)


anonymous asked:

Is davis a boring city to live in?

Any city is what you make of it. Obviously Davis is not San Francisco or LA. It is more of a college town and suburb than a city. With that said, one of the main things that I love about Davis is how easy it is to get around. For example if a friend lives “far” from you, that may mean a 5-10 minute bike ride (which in my opinion is not far at all). Downtown has 2 movie theaters, many restaurants, bars, shops, farmers market etc. Davis does get boring. But if you find friends who are willing to do stuff you can make the most of it. If you are over 21, the different bars/restaurants downtown have Trivia almost every night of the week…Tuesday nights are 5$ movies for students at the movie theater on F street…. Farmers market is on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. A lot of people participate in IM sports. If you need to escape Davis, Sacramento is about 20 minutes away, and San Francisco is about an hour away. A lot of people venture to Lake Berryessa (which is actually relatively close to Davis) to hike. Lake Tahoe is only a few hours away as well. As with every city, you are likely to be bored from time to time. But if you get involved in clubs and are willing to try new things and explore, Davis can be a pretty awesome place.    

Strange Mysteries: The Zodiac Killer

“This is the Zodiac speaking…”

The Zodiac Killer was a notorious serial killer who plagued the northern California area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though only 5 deaths are officially attributed to him, he himself boasted of 37 total victims.

December 20, 1968: The Lake Herman Attack

The first known victims of the Zodiac Killer were Betty Lou Jensen (16) and David Faraday (17). The two were discovered at a popular lovers’ lane just within Benicia city limits.

It is speculated that the Zodiac Killer parked nearby, approached the parked car and ordered the couple out of the vehicle.

Faraday is shot in the head while stepping out of the car. Jensen was able to run about 20 feet before being shot in the back 5 times.

July 4, 1969: The Blue Rock Springs Attack

The second victims were Darleen Ferrin (22) and Michael Mageau (19) who were attacked at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo just before midnight.

Like Jensen & Faraday, the two were parked at the time. Also like in the Lake Herman attack, the Zodiac Killer parked nearby before approaching the couple in their car.

The two were shot 5 times before the killer walked away.

Upon hearing the moans of Mageau, he then returned and fired another two shots.

Ferrin died upon arrival at the hospital. Mageau survived.

September 27, 1969: The Lake Berryessa Attack

The next known victims of the Zodiac Killer were Bryan Hartnell (20) and Cecelia Ann Shepard (22).

The two college students were picnicking on Lake Berryessa when they were approached by a hooded figure who forced Shepard to tie Hartnell at gun point before tying her up.

He then proceeded to stab the couple repeatedly.

Shepard later slipped into a coma and passed away. Hartnell survived.

October 11, 1969: The Presidio Heights Attack

The last confirmed victim of the Zodiac Killer was cab driver Paul Stine (29) who was shot in the head in the Presidio Heights area of San Francisco.

The Zodiac killer took Stine’s wallet, car keys and a piece of his blood-stained shirt which he later mailed out with one of his many letters.

Stine is the last official known victim of the Zodiac Killer though other attacks are suspected.

To this day he has yet to be officially identified…

For more information on the Zodiac Killer including some other murders he is suspected of, go [here].

I also highly recommend watching David Fincher’s 2007 film, Zodiac.