During dry spells, the creek runs sluggishly and is nearly still in some places.
But after a good rain, one can see where the water rose to scour the banks free of leaf litter and small plants.
A storm can also create huge piles of brush and debris, washed down from upstream. We routinely find debris caught in the shrubbery fifteen to twenty feet above the creekbed.
What looks like a gentle stream can become a raging torrent in matter of minutes. Never cross the creek if heavy rain seems likely.
The creek has a fondness for re-arranging its bed. It is continuously adding new curves and bends, forming new ox-bow lakes and deserting old ones, and undercutting nearby trees and toppling them into the channel.
Large trees are uprooted and tossed about as if they were matchsticks.
If you visit the same stretch on regular basis, you will notice that the landscape is never the same twice. Saplings grow up, start to lean over the creek, fall in, and get washed away. Large trees start to lean, then teeter, then crash through the canopies of their neighbors. Fallen trees bridge the creek and pile up brush dams until the next storm sweeps them away. It becomes a game to predict what will happen next.
The creek in early spring, with the Redbud blooming, is a rare place indeed.
Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are common in the understory along the creek. Not much else is in full leaf when they flower, so they really stand out.
Back at the path, one has two choices: back the way already come, or away to something new? Take the road not yet traveled and all sorts of interesting things await. This rickety old bridge hangs high above the creek and is an acrophobic's nightmare. Let's not go this way.
Chapter 12 - Back on the Trail
Lick Creek Park Field Trip Home Page