Marsh-a, marsh-a, marsh-a

Taking a stroll with our dog around the neighborhood, I happened to run into a group of new friends and neighbors, fresh from their trip to the annual San Mateo Highlands Tour. Noting the nearby sump station, I asked if there was a creek nearby and was directed to the Reichmuth Park Nature Area, just across the street.

As I walked into the canopy by Sump Station 65 on Silver Lake Drive off of South Land Park Drive, my trepidation turned to delight as I discovered a wild wetland forest right in the middle of our urban neighborhood! I can't help but wonder if Joseph Eichler intentionally chose to build our neighborhood near this natural asset or if it was just a coincidence.

There is a beautiful trail which meanders and eventually leads to the grassy areas of Reichmuth Park. Along the way, we spotted wild blackberries, grapevines, cat tails, and even a fig tree nestled among the native oaks. We heard crickets, frogs and saw a shallow pool full of tadpoles. Even though we didn't see any, there are reportedly bunnies. And birds. Lots of birds. Apparently, per the Sacramento Audobon Society Reichmuth Park is home to many uncommon birds. The next scheduled SAS field trip is scheduled this fall, September 21, 2009 at 7:30am.

Near the bottom far left margin of this old 1908 Sacramento map, you will see an area called Munger Lake, where Reichmuth Park is currently located. According to Carlos Alcala, author of "Sacramento Street Whys: The Whys Guy’s Wise Guide to Sacramento Street Names" Reichmuth Park was "... named for Joseph and Amelia Reichmuth. At one time they owned the park, only it was under water and named Munger Lake, which explains why kids practicing soccer in winter tend to get very muddy there. The Reichmuths also had a 358-acre dairy...."

If you want to melt away the stress of urban living, I suggest a walk with your dog here. For safety reasons, I suggest you don't go alone.

My kids really loved the "secret" nature walk. Except for the wet shoe in the boggy water incident, but the shoe was washed and no harm done. This morning, my six year old son stated that he's pretty sure Master Yoda lives there but only comes out at night when it's foggy. Only the birds and the bunnies may know for sure.

UPDATE: Quite a while after I did this carefree little post, Valcom News reporter Lance Armstrong did a great in-depth article on the history of Reichmuth Park and the lake. Read his article here.