The Russian River of northern California has an interesting history, which I won’t go into here. I recommend looking it up on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and while you’re there, make a donation. It is an amazing resource! You can also, if you have some expertise in a particular subject, contribute to the growing collection of free knowledge that it provides. But let’s get back to that river, shall we?
This post is about my experience with the Russian River, namely, admiring it from the sidelines. Its headwaters are only a few miles east of where I live in Mendocino county, but it finds the ocean many miles southwest, in Sonoma county just north of San Francisco. When I see the Russian River, I am usually driving along Highway 101 in southern Mendocino county, enjoying the view of rolling oak woodlands and vineyards, punctuated by the riparian vegetation that cleverly disguises the river until it pops out to see what’s going on around it.
There is a particularly scenic stretch south of Hopland and north of Cloverdale. The river is looking drained these days, after a brief, dry winter, but the oak woodland through which it flows is lovely. There are years when it floods its banks and wreaks havoc in the low-lying areas of southern Mendocino and western Sonoma counties. Hard to imagine from this photo!