From its source deep in the wilderness on Soledad Ridge, the clear,
cold water of the Perdido River begins its journey to the sea.
Twenty-seven miles of mostly navigable water held in the California
Public Trust because it is deemed too valuable for individual
ownership. A protected place-for now.
Imagine yourself standing near the spring where the river rushes
from the earth. It flows rapidly, leaping and bounding over
boulders that churn it to whitewater. Ancient redwoods crowd in
upon its rocky banks, shafts of sunlight penetrating their dense
foliage. The cry of a hawk splits the silence, and you look up in
time to see it soar against the blue sky.
You follow the river miles downstream, to where it widens and moves
under eucalyptus, tanbark oak, and pine. Its banks are reed choked,
a nesting place for waterfowl. A great blue heron cranes its long
neck, and an osprey rises up, its wings beating the air. Sun
dapples the flanks of the coho salmon and steelhead trout that have
swum upstream to spawn, and you spot the sleek brown flash of a
river otter as it plays in the current. You sniff air laden with
pine resin and the peculiar, mentholated odor of eucalyptus.
This is a place out of time-for now.
West, where the Perdido eases off to sea level, it moves lazily
around sandbars and between white sand beaches, carrying with it
kayakers, swimmers, and dogs splashing after Frisbees their owners
have tossed. Many of these people are locals, but most are
tourists, drawn here by the river's recreational activities.
Tourists, who are the lifeblood of Cape Perdido, the seaside town
to the north. You watch them and think it is wonderful that all
this has been preserved in its natural state for everyone's
Excerpted from CAPE PERDIDO © Copyright 2005 by
Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. Reprinted with permission by
Mysterious Press, an imprint of Time Warner Bookmark. All rights