March 06, 2015

Photo Essay: Another Look at the St. Francis Dam Disaster Site

I'd already been to the St. Francis Dam disaster site at least four times. But I still had the sense that there was more to see.

So I joined a group during a sun shower...

...under threatening skies...

...with those puffy clouds that just hang there, posing for a photograph.

I never knew that there was a building foundation of an old hotel there.

I'd never seen the pools in the back of the "Tombstone" rubble, which have become a frog habitat...

...or the graffitied caves carved out by partying teenagers and druggies.

I'd never seen wildflowers there.

But there they were.

I just hadn't ever come at the right time, before.

I also hadn't explored the bridge of the old San Francisquito Canyon Road...

...which is delightfully urban... this wild setting.

This was actually the second road to go past the dam site...

...the first of which – a ridge route – visible from a rickety set of stairs that take you above Power Plant #2... the top of the penstocks...

...the former summit of a defunct (and removed) funicular.

The dam break washed out that first road, which used to pass over the east abutment.

It was even paved.

You can still walk up part of it...

...ascending near the intersection of the Old San Francisquito Canyon Road and the new re-routed San Francisquito Canyon Road...

...up into the hills.

It is impassible to vehicles now...

...and eventually just stops, completely washed out, overtaken by nature.

The road that you can see below – the one most people consider the "old" road – was the one that was built after the dam break, that used to pass right by the dam ruins.

The one that was also washed out by rains and floods in 2005.

Sometimes history repeats itself. Over and over and over again.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: What's Left of the St. Francis Dam

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