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Sharing Memories of the L.A. River

November 28, 1985

I live considerably upstream in the Los Feliz area just west of the Golden State Freeway and a little north of Los Feliz Boulevard.

Fifteen years or so ago my children and I used to spend a bit of time in the Los Angeles river bed. We would look for frogs' eggs in the spring. Usually the river bed turned black as the eggs hatched and turned into polliwogs.

Later the Army engineers put up a high chain-link fence and we could no longer get down to the river bed.

In the winter rainy season I still stop by to watch the muddy flood waters go swirling, sometimes 14 feet deep. The river can rise almost overnight and subside as quickly. Someone has painted nice cat faces on the manhole covers to the storm drains, which prevent the flood waters from backing up into the streets in the Atwater neighborhood.

A little farther upstream, there is a dirt ramp to enable horses to cross from the Atwater side to the Griffith Park side. This ramp, too, is swept away by the winter floods from time to time.

My son and his friends, aged 10 or so, used to ride their bikes along the top of the embankment (before the fence). They would complain with pride of the fierce head winds going upstream on a good winter day and the fast ride downstream with the wind behind them.


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