Cedar Creek Falls, March 2022

The waterfall of Cedar Creek in San Diego's back country near Ramona is a tributary to the San Diego River, and a very popular hiking destination on Cleveland National Forest Land. Here it is flowing after winter and spring rain, late in March 2022.

A couple of years ago, my introvert tendencies led to a certain disdain for the Cedar Creek Falls hike — solely due to its popularity with people of course, not because of the scenery. But after March 2015, when I hiked with my friend Joe on a weekday in the early morning and we had the place to ourselves, I switched it to a challenge: go there, and photograph it without people.

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Winter Moments in Southern California

Trees and pasture in fog and snow at Cañada Buena Vista near Warner Springs, California.

I distinctly remember December 31st, 2014: snow fell all the way down to Temecula – a town that lies about 45 minutes north from here, and at an elevation of only about 1000 feet / 300 meters! This meant that “my tree” (the solitary Cottonwood at Lake Henshaw) would be in snow of course (it’s at an elevation of about 2800 feet / 850 meters) but back then, I missed the opportunity to photograph it because of a more important commitment. The thought of having a photo of the tree with snow though has haunted me every winter since…

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West Side Road (Infrared)

Engelmann Oak and the West Side Road trail, with Cuyamaca Peak in the distance. Near Ramona, California, January 2017.

West Side “Road” is a hiking trail on Cleveland National Forest land that starts at the very end of the San Diego Country Estates area near Ramona. It’s very close to the super-popular Cedar Creek Falls trailhead – and receives very little attention.

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