January 9, 2006

Stephan Doyle came prepared with surfboard in hand, then he contemplated for a brief moment, Would he actually have an opportunity to surf the mighty Sinbad Creek? But no he was only trying to make light of the fact that the residents of upper Kilkare Road were once again pulling together to help one another during the torrential downpour of rain we experienced last week.

The seasonally dry creek bed, that parallels Kilkare Road its entire length, turns into a chocolate milk colored river during the winter. Some areas of the creek are deep and wide, others narrow and shallow and unfortunately for quite a few residents the narrow and shallow part is near the top northern end of the road. Several homes there are only accessible by private low lying bridges that cross the creek and that's where the flooding usually occurs because large tree limbs and other debris gets trapped under the bridge.

Stephan Doyle, who lives across one of those bridges and is also President of the Kilkare Woods Homeowners Association, said with a sigh of relief, "It didn't come in my house, so I'm happy. Major thanks to the county for coming up here and taking care of us."

A big thank you goes out to Chuck Swann, Superintendent of the Alameda County Road Maintenance and his team for their quick response in helping clean up the large amounts of mud and debris on Kilkare Road. They worked all day long and into the early evening using several pieces of heavy equipment including dump trucks and tractors.

The Alameda County Road Maintenance also provides sand and sandbags in two locations on Kilkare Road at both ends of the road.

Only once can I or any other longtime resident remember when Kilkare Road was actually closed in the early 80's due to severe flooding. Parking my car near the Little Brown Church, I hitched a ride with a neighbor in a 4-wheel drive Jeep and as we climbed Kilkare Road it was apparent the reason for the road closure; entire hillsides had slid onto the road and the creek had jumped its bank in several locations. After dropping me off at my house with a promise to come back for me, the driver continued on while I packed a suitcase and evacuated. I spent the next few days in a hotel until it was safe to return to my little log cabin in the woods.

Another Sunol "only once in my lifetime" event happened in the mid 70's when
several inches of snow blanketed the canyon white. We had seen the white stuff here before but it never stuck around long enough to actually play in it. The trees, not used to the weight of the snow, were cracking and falling all around. Cars were sliding off the road, no thanks to us kids who were joyously throwing snowballs at them and each other. The snow only stayed for a few days and we were sure sorry to see it melt.

And even though the Sinbad looks very inviting to surf, swim, canoe or kayak, please do not go anywhere near that creek when it's a raging, powerful river. Although beautiful, it can be very dangerous.

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