San Joaquin River Along JMT
“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4, KJV).
There is a certain irony in the fact that the seasonal rainfall for the Central Valley of California is a meager eleven inches yet the Central Valley has the largest agricultural production in the United States. Some of the irrigation water is provided by deep wells but the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the East provides the explanation for how such an arid region can be so productive. Sierra Nevada is Spanish for Snowy Range. The mountain snowpack is reclaimed moisture that has traveled east passing the Valley by and returns Westward back toward the Valley as streams and rivers created by melting snow. The U.S. record for snowpack is at Tamarack CA of 37.5 feet. This melting snow is fed back gradually and is captured and stored in reservoirs that help regulate the flow westward toward the Pacific Ocean. These reservoirs provide recreation and electricity for millions of Californians in addition to water for drinking, agricultural products shipped around the world and habitat for wildlife.
The mountains provide natural containment of water reserves in the form of snow. When I hear the seasonal rain on my roof, I rejoice knowing that the Sierras are gleaning much of the remaining moisture from the passing storm and will give it back throughout the rest of the year. Much of California vegetation is green in winter and brown from mid spring until late fall. The spring reminds me of Exodus. “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at k Horeb; and l you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it that the people may drink." (Exodus 17:6). In spring, the water literally flows from the granite cracks and the earth.
The rivers that flow out of the Sierras are spaced such that the entire Central Valley is supplied with drinking and irrigation water. The combination of mountains and the rivers they give birth to, provide some of the most beautiful scenery on the face of the earth. Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon Parks are located in the Sierras and the rivers provide majestic waterfalls.
This is really a song of praise to God who is the Architect of this landscape. No engineer, artist, or farmer or could have even imagined such an intricate interplay of water, rock, snow and people. No one can describe this early beauty.
“The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand;” (Deuteronomy 28:12a).