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A River Runs Through It

Our Santa Clara River

Posted: February 17, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2012 6:00 a.m.

The trail head of the Santa Clara River Trail at Lost Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

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One of my favorite stories about the Santa Clara River is the story of a new pastor to our community who had arrived in the Santa Clarita Valley from somewhere in the Midwest, I believe, with a kayak or canoe or some other small watercraft on top of his car in the mistaken belief there was actually a river that ran through the SCV.

He laughed at his mistake and told his new SCV acquaintances, "I looked at a map and it showed this blue line and the notation, Santa Clara River, I actually thought there was a river!"

It's easy to dismiss the swatch of dry, dusty, rocky and somewhat barren earth that runs throughout the SCV. Daily we drive over the inert riverbed, oblivious of the sleeping giant it can become.

When the rains come, and they always come, eventually, that giant empty void soon fills with roiling, turbulent, brown water that surges with majestic power from the San Gabriel Mountains down through the SCV, past Fillmore, Santa Paula and Ventura to its final destination into the Pacific Ocean.

In past years the river has eaten into roadways and gobbled up stretches of private property.

It is a thing wild and mostly untamed - when it wants to be.

Mostly, it is a dry and solitary place to walk - a place to walk your dogs, a place for lovers to walk hand-in-hand, a place to walk in solitude and a place to let children run free.

It's not a place to play when the rains come, or threaten. It's rocky bottom can also create havoc on the careless or unaware. Turning an ankle is more the rule than the exception when traversing the usually dry riverbed. There are critters here, too. Mostly benign, but the SCV is home to snakes and things that bite. Nature is not always beautiful and kind.

Nature invented survival of the fittest.

If you walk the river, use care and caution, but you'll find it a world apart of the hustle and bustle of the city that surrounds it.

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