Valley Wonders

Valley Wonders title=
Valley Wonders
Reads 6287

By John Wiley

During a short Monday flight in rain-cleared air across to Santa Ynez, we enjoyed the colorful transformations evident everywhere in the Valley. The lake is Back!


Still few boaters evident, maybe due to the cold snap?

Major bridges seem to have fared well, making us wonder how it would have looked if the dams weren't there.

Nearing town, we noticed small ponds in a pasture with happy animals (are those two deer at upper-right?).

In many places the river looks dry from the air, but with zoom the muddy water stands out more from places with dry riverbed.

New construction next to the casino will be interesting to check out.

The old barn near the airport seemed in better repair than when we last took a good look some years ago.


We found two trails down into town, and hope to visit IZA on another nice day soon to walk in and explore.





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Shasta Guy Feb 08, 2023 10:58 AM
Valley Wonders

Very beautiful John, and thanks for sharing. I took my first drive by the lake last weekend.

At 752.87’, the lake is just about to spillover at 753’.

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 01:48 PM
Valley Wonders

Wow, thanks for the update Shasta! County site sez 99.7% today! Didn't know it's continued rising since I last checked a while after the heavy rain stopped and it was about 88%. Maybe it's because they released from the two upstream dams (presuming Gibraltar had stopped spilling when Cachuma was 88%)?

Shasta Guy Feb 08, 2023 04:20 PM
Valley Wonders

I’m a total weather, reservoir, and snow pack geek. You can navigate to the reservoir level here:

Then select the “level” icon next to reservoirs. Click the green dot for Lake Cachuma, the. Click the blue text “reservoir level. The. You can click on the blue bubble with the date. That enables you to select “today” “past two days” “past week” “past month” for chart format. You can see the excruciatingly slow reservoir rise to 753’. It’s less than 3” away from topping.

Further north both Shasta and Oroviille reservoirs are at about 50% capacity. The heavy Sierra snow pack may lead to severe valley flooding later, especially if we get more storms or a warm atmospheric river event on top of that snowpack. It’s happened many times in the past.

The spring flow over the Yosemite waterfalls will be spectacular this year. Hopefully Yosemite Valley doesn’t get wiped out by a flooding Merced river like it has before in the last.

Shasta Guy Feb 08, 2023 04:33 PM
Valley Wonders

The status of the majority of the reservoirs in the state can be found here:

They are listed by river basin. Things are not very intuitive. The reservoirs don’t have a % full feature here. You need to know total acre feet storage or spillway height to determine % full. Shasta tops out at 1,067’ and Oroviille at 901’. The menu at the top can give access to other things like snowpack. If you surf around you can find inter stuff.

You make plots by clicking on a column header in a table. That gives you the last 24hrs. If you click the plot it becomes a ten day plot. If you select the “custom” feature at the bottom you can go as far as 720 days back, but no more.

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 01:52 PM
Valley Wonders

Nobody sees 2 deer? Guess the resolution of that pic isn't high enough, but even on my 5472x3640 original it's impossible to tell what species they might be. They definitely look like deer of some sort though, and presumably a local species that jumped any fence containing the horses rather than something contained inside a fence.

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 02:06 PM
Valley Wonders

So if you imagine the upper-right pond as a rounded arrow pointing left and slightly up, the two "deer" are near the point of the "arrow." As for what I first thought were horses, after fiddling with the image some at full resolution they look like cows. One cow further left from the deer, and close below the lower one is a another cow lying down. What I thought were people standing, are more likely small shrubs of some kind casting shadows down the slope. Regardless, those critters must be loving the new grass and rain runoff in the ponds.

bicyclist Feb 08, 2023 02:32 PM
Valley Wonders

I figured cows? I was at first going to ask "Which/what airport?", but after actually reading the first sentence... Located said "old barn" whew... Directly north of 3955 Edgehill Rd. roughly 650 feet from their pool. now I can relax, that was a tough one.
Reading is fundamental!
Gibralter is currently showing "outflow" of 100 cfs down from yesterdays 127 cfs , with Cachuma lowering to 752.80' (must be leaking?)...
Thanks John!

bicyclist Feb 08, 2023 03:05 PM
Valley Wonders

Inside said "old barn":,-120.0683798,3a,75y,288.61h,72.69t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipMpiT_rpwjMKUDQhNBufIHRC5lV1-c7Dsp7MF4!2e10!3e11!!7i8000!8i4000

Joe OBrien Dec. 2016 hoping that link works for others...

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 03:54 PM
Valley Wonders

Looks like two URLs (web addresses) ran together in your post. The location on gMaps is about 1/2 mile SE of the IZA runway, at this shortlink: The other link doesn't work, but if you post an exact quote of some text that's on it, we can probably find it w/google.

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:08 PM
Valley Wonders

Reading helped too late for me to avoid the time spent posting a map pin here. :) As to Cachuma "leak" it's been letting out water every time I looked, even in the depth of drought. Maybe to help farmers & fish survive? I seem to recall something here on Edhat about water table replenishment requirements related to sharing of resources downstream.

bicyclist Feb 08, 2023 04:15 PM
Valley Wonders

sorry John that was just one link try the whole thing as one:
maybe this one will take you to the inside of that old barn
I probably did that tiny one wrong by at least I tried.... says it's part of the Gainey Vineyard, I'd used the "street view" and it showed up as a viewable location (blue dot/photo sphere).

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:48 PM
Valley Wonders

Ah, thanks B. That link just shows a black page for me (probably due to my pointless efforts at twarting Big Data w/Firefox settings). I slogged thru the pix on the Gainey gmaps link and found this that's clearly a view from inside the barn: Alas, that photosphere link also shows a blank page but at least the thumbnail's clearly inside the barn. Is there some mention of Joe OBrien - maybe he took the photosphere?

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 05:06 PM
Valley Wonders

Ah, thanks B. That link just shows a black page for me (probably due to my pointless efforts at twarting Big Data w/Firefox settings). I slogged thru the pix on the Gainey gmaps link and found this that's clearly a view from inside the barn: Alas, that photosphere link also shows a blank page but at least the thumbnail's clearly inside the barn. To my considerable surprise, the barn's an expensive wedding venue. Regarding your initial comment, is there some mention of Joe OBrien - maybe he took the photosphere?

a-1675908578 Feb 08, 2023 06:09 PM
Valley Wonders

John, yes the photosphere is credited to Joe OBrien & dated Dec. 2016. 360 degree view with zooming capabilities... Shows a blured out group of 5 (?) at the open end with a dude to the left viewing an open cold chest/cooler. I'm sorry if it's not working for others:(
I only use Firefox and had done all that posting on my Win7 (Pro) PC, so off to this Win10 (Pro) one and seems to work here also? So to all the ED viewers: if it seems like I'm "Overdoing it with my postings" SORRY! as I've previously posted I'm all about the "Where is this?"

bicyclist Feb 08, 2023 06:14 PM
Valley Wonders

Magic right there! A-1675908578 how'd you do that?

a-1675909454 Feb 08, 2023 06:24 PM
Valley Wonders

A-1675908578 how'd I do that? Checked the box showing my "unpaid status"?

Bird Feb 09, 2023 07:31 AM
Valley Wonders

Great photos, John! Thank you for them. ...I appreciate your "greedy" reference below - I often feel similarly on seeing something wonderful on solo walks but have no way of sharing. I think water was released regularly, as you noted, because of agreements with downstream users (and, also, consideration for fish.) And then when recently it was filling, but not full, they released slowly so as if it did fill, there would not be a floodlike release on Lompoc.

LincolnLady Feb 08, 2023 02:07 PM
Valley Wonders

1) Nice pictures John. :-)
2) What type of camera, what works on an airplane?
3) Deer can jump over all kinds of stuff. Check this video of one high-jumping deer:

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 03:58 PM
Valley Wonders

1. Glad you like them. Fun sharing what's Up there. 2. Sony all-in-1, any fast camera (1/1200 second) w/good stabilization works. 3. My sister Hates deer, and hearing her rant about them reminds me of the old comedian's bit on the topic. :)

sacjon Feb 08, 2023 02:19 PM
Valley Wonders

Thank you for posting these! I've been eager to go fish the SYR, but haven't been up there yet due to the closure. Looks like I'll be waiting out that muddy water a while longer! If only it was this green all year round!

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:01 PM
Valley Wonders

I'm surprised it's still so muddy, and we were wondering during the flight how the sediment levels are going in the reservoir system.

LCP112233 Feb 08, 2023 03:03 PM
Valley Wonders

What a wonderful sight to see! Thanks for the photos.

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:00 PM
Valley Wonders

When I fly w/o sharing pix it feels greedy, so it's bringing some ease having shared these after so long busy with other stuff. Anyway, thanks for the feedback and encouragement. :)

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:13 PM
Valley Wonders

What's the date for opening that development next to the casino? Wasn't there an Edhat article about it a while back?

John Wiley Feb 08, 2023 04:31 PM
Valley Wonders

Chumash cultural center edhat (googling that shows 3 links. - "County, Chumash reach pact on cultural center" Lompoc Record Feb 15, 2005 (google shows an early article). I'd thought the museum was part way to Solvang, but maybe that's where the health clinic and band office is now (Via Juana Rd)?

biguglystick Feb 09, 2023 02:30 PM
Valley Wonders

So exciting! Haven't seen anything like this in years! I love the photos, John Wiley, thank you.

Shasta Guy Feb 09, 2023 08:32 PM
Valley Wonders

Here’s and article about Cachuma releasing water along with the status of other central coast reservoirs

Shasta Guy Feb 15, 2023 09:20 AM
Valley Wonders

The sensor at Lake Cachuma just before 6am this morning started hitting 753' which means water is capable of spilling down the spillway

Shasta Guy Feb 15, 2023 04:49 PM
Valley Wonders

The level of Lake Cachuma has been hitting 753.00' regularly all day. Water should be spilling over the dam visibly. It would be great if someone could get a photo of it.

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