LA Aqueduct walk

Last Sunday we walked with Charles Fleming around a cemetery. This week, we took his book, Secret Walks and headed out the northern part of the valley. This is a view that anyone driving on the 5 Freeway, is very familiar with. The end of the LA Aqueduct. Sometimes water is being aerated down both spillways, today it was clearly not.  The water goes under the freeway to a very large holding area, which these days is covered with large black balls to prevent evaporation. We walked up the very northern part of Balboa Ave, I had thought it ended at Foothill, but now, it makes a loop around. There is plenty of large warehouses and a few housing communities.  Most of the water is pumped through these massive pipes, all the way from the Owens Valley.Gotta love the bombastic name and gate in front of one of these complexes.  The street is named Nicklaus Dr. We soon found out why.This area was intended to be a planned golf community, with the course designed by Jack Nicklaus.  They dug up a pond and lined it with heavy plastic, which surprisingly enough has survived all these years. I bet it had water in it last winter when we had heavy rains.They also paved pathways for golf carts, although they don’t want motorized traffic on them now.Someone planted bougainvillea Since these are native to Mexico, they thrive out here without any care.Gazania, another domesticated plant that manages to thrive with no care.Looking up at the final water tower of the aqueduct itself.Down at the water splashing and aerating on it’s way to the sanitation reservoir. These days people love to bash the aqueduct and its designer, William Mulholland. Me, I’m grateful to both. LA would never be what it is today without the water. I love this massive, crazy megalopolis. Sure, these days much of our water comes from the Colorado River. Why is it that people are so impressed with ancient world engineering (Machu Pichu, the Pyramids) but dismiss modern day wonders?  I’m impressed with them all.The Los Angeles Freeway system is a wonder unto itself.Cars on the freeway and a Metrolink train speeding by on tracks.Massive power lines are overhead. Part of the power comes from the aqueduct and hydroelectric power. Walking under them is a little disconcerting, the hum and crackle of the massive power running through those wires are very noticeable.I saw a couple of these boxes, fuses just open to the elements. Maybe they are completely non-functional, I hope so. We walked alongside this condo complex. It faces the freeway and all of the noise, but at least in the back, they have this lovely expanse of grass. I hope people take advantage of this.Look what I found! A quilt! It looks handmade. I didn’t dare touch it, who knows what kind of germs are on it. But a quilt, out in the wild.It was too early for tacos, so instead, we found a cute coffee shop, Coffee and Cream, in Sylmar. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the mural, as well as a conversation with a fellow cyclist. I don’t ride bikes, but Joel does, so they had a lot to talk about. As I said, I love this crazy megalopolis.

Leah

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