A view of Beatty Creek in early fall of 2015. This bent tree caught my attention when I first visited Beatty Creek in the spring of 2014. The creek was full at the time, and I was blissfully unaware of how intermittent the flow in this reach could be. I've visited this spot a dozen times since. The embankment from where I took this shot was flat and relatively free from salmon berries. I would sometimes sit or squat there for a half hour or more - just listening to the water and admiring the epiphytes and other vegetation.
Taken a few days later, after a particularly heavy rain. The water was running strong, but not yet at full flood.
I returned once more,two weeks later. The rains had increased steadily from a few hundredths at a time to inches. The stream was running a a nearly full boil and was fully engaged in restructuring its bed. In just a few days the creek had carried my favorite perching place away. But I found a new one just to the left of where the old bench had been, a place where I could once again sit and marvel at the miracle of water. I'm weeks overdue for another visit.
POSTSCRIPT: I went back yesterday morning and was a little surprised how close to drying up the stream has become in just a few short days. This is late April, which seems very early in the year. However, the soils around here drain very quickly, and rainfall here in the Olympia/Tumwater area is more than an inch less than "normal" for the month.
I checked a couple of pools and they both contained small fish, probably similar to the one's Jake and I discovered last summer (see previous post). I never got a positive ID on them, but the best guess is they were coho that made a wrong turn when they came to the Beatty - Mclane Creek confluence. The spot shown here is at roughly 40 feet higher in elevation than that confluence. The reaches upstream from here are are probably close to bone dry already. There's still a great deal of moisture in the stream bed, so fresh water will be entering the pools through seepage for at least a few more days. But if the next round of rain isn't better heavier than its been in some time, the little fish in these isolated pools won't be flushed out and taken further down stream. I'll keep an eye out on the process, and maybe try later to set up a "taxi" service for a few of them.