About the Colony

Watching Atascadero’s many lakes

I love watching Atascadero’s numerous lakes fill with water.

When I was still a working journalist, I looked forward to the winter rains primarily because I could keep a watch on the rising waters around Atascadero.

Everyone knows about Atascadero Lake. It is the most obvious because it is the largest and the most developed with a park, a zoo and walking paths.

The rains that have been falling these past few days are stark reminders of the fact “Atascadero” is a Spanish word that, broadly defined, means “a miry place.” I’ve gotten stuck in Atascadero’s mud many times over the past 40-plus years.I’ve written before about Atascadero’s “second lake” less than a mile from the one we all know about.

You drive past its earthen dam when you turn from Morro Road onto the first Old Morro Road. Actually, we don’t see the lake that forms behind those homes on Old Morro Road, San Rafael Road and Chandler Lane. If you parked your car at the corner of Old Morro Road and Morro Road and walked to the base of the dam, you’d see a large rusty pipe protruding from the base of that dam. With all the construction, maybe the lake doesn’t fill as much as it once did.

If you turn from Old Morro Road onto Los Osos Road you come across a very pretty little lake that forms there each rainy season. In fact, that small lake rose rapidly with that very first rain of the season last October.

Just up Los Osos Road is a charming little seasonal “pond.”

There’s another little lake that forms behind some homes in Paradise Valley off Santa Lucia Road. You don’t even see it from the street, but I know it is there because I’ve run some of my radio controlled model boats on it.

And then there’s everyone’s favorite, Grandpa’s Lake, which, in rainy years, required that Los Palos Road be blocked to vehicular traffic when it rose. If you had a boat you could continue. Extensive home building and controls of rain runoff have resulted in the little lake staying that way — little. But it sure resembled a lake when I drove by it last Saturday.

I haven’t been to the two waterfalls out by Devil’s Gap on Highway 41 since I retired. I loved taking pictures of the falls, but each and every time I did I’d come down with a case of poison oak because you have to crawl down a steep embankment to get to the creek, which at that point is flowing west toward Morro Bay.

Lon Allan can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.