One of my go-to neighborhood walks is in an area of Upland, California, that I call The Wetlands. It’s owned by the county Flood Control District. Its real name is Cucamonga Basin #6. If you’re thinking that’s as unromantic as it gets, I agree. I visited recently because a neighbor mentioned there was now water in the basin! That also sounds a bit odd. Of course a flood basin should have water; but in December when I visited, the basin was very dry.
I shot the above just to get a feel for the empty streambed and the bare mountains. It’s purely illustrative. Everything looks dry and brittle. But winter in Southern California has been wet and now the basin looks like this.
The snow on Cucamonga Peak isn’t bad either. It was better right after the rain, but I’m not complaining.
With the water came the birds. There were ducks, some little black ones that looked like coots and several geese. This makes a good place to stop and rest during migration. The trails wind around high above the water level. The regulations warn hikers not to cross the fence. As a result, I didn’t have many choices about where to stand to get a shot. Sometimes I pointed the camera between the bars of the fence. Of course, those didn’t turn out well. My lens can’t pick up tiny birds swimming about in the distance. That didn’t stop me from trying.
These birds were off in the shade and didn’t really want to cooperate. In fact, they were moving away from me. I like the reflections, especially their necks.
Joggers, dog walkers, and bikers enjoy the trails in the basin. The paths are wide and made of dirt. In some spots, there are observation areas where one can sit and rest. You can cross the stream in a couple places, which is handy. You don’t have to go all the way around. These bridges are also your only chance to get down near the water.
To take this shot, I was standing on one of the upper trails. Once you’re up above, it takes a while before you find another trail leading down again.
The weather was on the cool side which made for pleasant rambling. However, there are no trees in the basin. Nor have I found any drinking fountains. As a result, this can be a very hot walk in summer.
As you can see, there is a tall fence on the water side of the trail. The same intertwined scrub continues down the hillside toward the pools.
During my recent visit, I was trying to find a good view from this upper trail when I thought I saw a dog down below. It took a millisecond to realize it was a coyote. That millisecond was not enough time to get the camera up and grab a picture.
He ducked into the surrounding brush and I lost sight of him. There are warning signs posted that this is coyote territory, although this is the first time I’ve seen one here.
The Cucamonga Basin is user friendly. First, the admission is free. Furthermore there are lots of birds, if you enjoy birds, and it’s a pleasant and flat walk. Well there may be some gradual slopes but they’re very easy. Lastly, parking is free. That’s because there is no parking lot, but one can park in the neighborhoods bordering the basin and then walk in. There are several entrance points. Word of caution, be sure to remember where you left your car. The entrances and trails tend to look alike.