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Arroyo Seco Foundation

News of the Arroyo


Rain reveals Arroyo Seco’s winter character





January 10, 2018 - Reg Green depicts the wondrous winter character of the Arroyo Seco and salutes ASF's goal of retaining its unique character.


La Cañada Valley Sun


Reg Green


After eight rainless months, as seen in this Jan. 7 photo, the Arroyo Seco is an inoffensive trickle, the weir it flows over two miles or so upstream from JPL a dry walk. (Reg Green)

For months, as happens every year through the rainless season, the Arroyo Seco has been getting smaller and smaller, just as the vegetation around it has been getting drier and drier.

It still gurgles cheerfully on, the only all-round stream in 50 square miles. But by last Sunday the weir a couple of miles above JPL, over which the water spreads itself whenever it can — and through which hikers and bikers take pleasure in splashing — was quite dry, an arid slab of concrete, looking like an abandoned building site.

By Tuesday, however, after just one day of steady but, at times, pounding rain, all that had changed. What was a trickle 'round one edge of the slab was now a flood. The entire weir was submerged under a racing wall of water that no one could have stood up against.

On Jan. 9, after a day of steady rain, the weir is submerged under a runaway flood, a walk across it not recommended. (Reg Green)

It is only when the river is full like this and bounding over the boulders in its path that you realize the steepness of its descent. It becomes a classic mountain river, fed from innumerable little valleys that, except for a few days a year, are dry as a desert. With 1,000-foot canyon walls towering above it, the valley is then truly magnificent, the Scottish Highlands grafted onto Southern California.

No wonder the Arroyo Seco Foundation is anxious to maintain its unique character. We should all be.

Reg Green lives in La Cañada Flintridge. (




Arroyo Seco Foundation, 570 W. Avenue 26 #450, Los Angeles, CA 90065-1011
PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326