Monday, August 16

Lake Alpine Sunrise #8

One departing shot of Lake Alpine whom I have known since '84.

We leave the Sierras yesterday, crossing the San Joaquin Valley which, historian Kevin Starr notes, is "the most productive unnatural environment on Earth." The SJV is also known as "The food basket of the world" or "The nation's salad bowl" producing oranges, peaches, garlic, tangerines, tomato's, kiwis, hay, nuts, grapes, tangerines and about any crop imagined. The J. G. Boswell Company's farming operation in Kings County is the largest single cotton farm in the world, occupying over 40,000 acres. Go figure. The major river supplying the valley is the San Joaquin, with tributaries of the lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced, and Fresno rivers. The California Aqueduct extends the entire length of the bioregion. The southern portion of the bioregion includes the Kings, Kaweah, and Kern rivers, which drain into closed interior basins. No significant rivers or creeks drain into the valley from the Coast Range. We pass through it all, stopping, as we always do, in Farmington to fill the tank, load up on junk food, and take a leak.

Remarkably, the San Joaquin Valley has the state's highest rate of food insecurity according to California.