Elfin Forest (5 photos)

When I first posted a photo of this area last year (“Tunnel“) I was hesitant to mention the location because after that first visit, when I returned, signs had been placed that declared it off limits – bummer.

That area is the Del Mar Mesa Preserve, and my friend Derek (100 Peaks) told me a while ago that the trails are open again. So with Spring well under way and the promise of fresh green, it was time to visit it again.

The “update” to the area includes info kiosks at the different entrances with a trail map, and signs are placed along the trails and at trail intersections. This is far, far better than anything I had hoped for after the temporary closure – but at the same time, I’m also a bit torn, because I’m not sure what increased public access will do to the area.

Small single track trails wind through a dense pygmy forest of old-growth Scrub Oak and Mountain Mahogany. In thick patches, lichen encrusts a whole lot of the trees trunks, branches and twigs. Wild cucumber climbs the trees with its tendrils, and right now, their small white flowers shine like little stars in the thicket. Soon, Early Onion will begin to sprout, and countless other wildflowers. It is such an enchanting place – it needs to be preserved.

But then I tell myself that it has already been used for such a long time, and seemingly, no harm has been done (I did notice that one former trail was covered and closed off, but that may be because it led towards privately owned land). The worst threat would be development, but that seems unlikely to happen – and hopefully, my photos help and show why this place is so special and so worthy of preservation.

And at the same time, the photos probably can’t do it justice – such beautiful chaos is hard to transport in a flat, two-dimensional photograph…


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4 Responses

  1. You don’t need to worry about increased usage. The off-limit signs did nothing to stop people. They were also open long before they were closed. It will always be a special little place. Almost texted you the other morning when the fog was pretty thick. :)

    1. Thanks Derek. :) Yes, thick fog would definitely be great. Late afternoon worked for my photos but it was tricky to keep the sun and brighter parts out of the frame.

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