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Arroyo Seco River

still adding stuff here 12-09-19 (11-09 in the US) - dc

19-09-12 - Tassajara Creek flows into Willow Creek right before they meet Arroyo Seco River near the Horse Bridge. Hiking out of Tassajara going downstream or on the Horse Pasture trail, one crosses the Horse Bridge to get to the first road. There used to be a camp there to the right where the Horse Bridge is but not now. And only the Forest Service can drive in there now. The last time I was there with wife Katrinka and son Clay, around 2005, we had to hike a couple of miles from a campground to get to the bridge. Outside of some hikes from Tassajara as mentioned below, I've also been there with son Kelly and past wife experience, Elin.

I've written about that area a few times in the book I'm working on, Tassajara Stories.

On the way into Tassajara for the first time in February of 1967 with Silas Hoadley, we met fire lookout Fred Tuttle who showed us where the line was and how to find the break in it. To do that, we didn't go into Tassajara but to the Arroyo Seco River.

***We drove to a river flowing in a gorge through rocky pools, the Arroyo Seco. The line crossed the river there over a bridge too small for a car but wide enough for its namesake, the Horse Bridge. The phone line was an uninsulated regular old metal wire – looked like galvanized fence wire but thinner. It ran five miles in each direction through wilderness. There was a box at the bridge where the line was attached to insulators so that the short bit of line between them could be disconnected. Using a crank phone he called each direction and determined that the line was broken or maybe just grounded between there and the Pac Bell connection at Fred’s Camp.

***I went with my son Kelly, then about eight, to the Arroyo Seco River and walked and swam upstream through the pools and narrow canyons, sometimes a couple of yards in between the walls – National Geographic quality. Got to the waterfall with the rope coming down on the side. Not a high falls – maybe fifteen feet but I never got further. As we rested in the circular concave confines of the pool below the falls, I told Kelly I’d discovered that place on an all-day walk with his mother [Dianne Goldschag now Daya] back in ‘67.


***Returned there later on a day off with Niels, Tim Buckley, Alan Marlowe, Tim Aston, and Jerry Fuller. We brought bag lunches, left at sunrise before breakfast in the zendo after a quick munch of gruel and soybeans on the deck outside the kitchen. We walked downstream all the way to the Arroyo Seco – what a trip – it takes longer that way - swimming through pools, jumping rocks. Walked and swam all the way up to that waterfall, stopping to leap off cliff-sides into deep pools. It was getting too late to try to go further. Niels showed us how easy it was by climbing to the top of the falls and jumping in. [I'm the only one in that group still on planet earth.]

When our group got back to the creek the sky was already getting dark. We went up creek fast as we could. There was a moon waxing near full but most its light was shielded by the trees and the steep rise on each side. Got so dark we could hardly see anything. Tim Buckley told about being at a get-together at Gary Snyder’s place in Nevada City where Snyder got everyone running in the woods in the dark, not colliding with trees by grace of subtle sensing. So we did the same – ran onward on the smooth creek stones sometimes leaping, zagging and zigging, arriving back to Tassajara too late for evening zazen. Soaked in the hot plunge till the fire watch with her clackers came in to turn off the kerosene lamps and kick us out. The next day none of us could understand how we’d done that with no one falling.

***John Stace was another guest who'd been coming there for years. Except he didn't use the road. He'd ride a horse followed by a whole party on horseback. They came in from Greenfield via the Arroyo Seco River. Would come in toward the end of the day. Maybe ten of them male and female, cowboy hats, boots. They'd tie their horses out at Grasshopper flats, walk back in.

***I can remember once over by the Arroyo Seco walking up to a man with an automatic weapon like you see in movies. He'd been unloading it randomly into the hillside across the river. "Pardon me sir," I said. "But I'd appreciate it if you didn't fire that thing like that. I have friends over there coming in on a trail."

Wikipedia page on the Arroyo Seco River

Sept. 14, 2019 - A message in a bottle got to hikers downstream.  - The family was seriously stuck upstream. Tassajara Creek flows into Willow Creek right before they meet Arroyo Seco River near the Horse Bridge. This story which I first saw on BBC, prompted me to make this page. - dc

Below is what was posted on Cuke What's New about it. Read it there with a photo of the family.
A message in a bottle got to hikers downstream.  - The family was stuck upstream. Tassajara Creek flows into Willow Creek right before they meet Arroyo Seco River near the Horse Bridge. This sounds exactly like the area where we used to go upstream to from the Horse Bridge. But that much water? Maybe another spot. But we'd go to a waterfall that wasn't so high - maybe ten feet, This NY Post article says the waterfall was forty feet so  it's somewhere else if that's true.  The one we went to came down into a deep pool. There was a rope on the right side. I never climbed it because there was too much water and I'm not a climber, but Niels Holm did. To get there you walk and swim upcreek half a mile or so and go through a place right before the waterfall that is maybe two yards wide with high walls on both sides. Have to swim there. I've written about that area a few times in the book I'm working on, Tassajara Stories. Here's a page for some of that and more on the Arroyo Seco. [That's this page]

Sept. 15, 2019 posted this on What's New - Communicated with Keith and Leslie at Jamesburg about this and they say that yes it's the same spot where I and others have walked and swam up to. That makes me wonder about the NY Post article saying the waterfall is 40 feet high. Not the one we see from below. That's ten to fifteen feet as I remember it. So either that's an exaggeration or there's more falls above what we could see from below. As one approaches the falls, they can't be seen. One enters a roughly oval pool maybe 25 feet wide and fifteen feet across and the falls are not straight ahead but over to the left. The pool is surrounded by walls but maybe there's enough rock to sit on over to the right. It's deeper where the falls come in. It's so unusual for there to be a lot of water this time of year. I always called it a National Geographic quality walk/swim. Some neat pools on the way where the creek/river narrows. Recall jumping from boulders into the pools on the way there. There are even larger boulders and pools further downstream from the Horse Bridge that tend to have more people frolicking. Would love to go back there.