Winter Drive along Sunrise Highway (8 photos)

The diversity of San Diego County is most apparent early in the year. The low-lying coastal and inland regions of the county are lush with fresh green already, and when Spring storms bring more precious precipitation it falls as snow at the highest elevations. In the Laguna Mountains, this brings astonishing contrasts between snow-covered chaparral slopes and the arid desert regions below. The drive along the east-facing portion of Sunrise Highway is highly enjoyable then.

When the timing is just right and a storm brings snow on a weekend, this area is bustling with people who want to just see the snow, or sled downhill and build a snowman. In other words, they want to just generally have some snow fun in Southern California (unfortunately, they also leave a lot of trash behind). I made these photos right after one such storm on a Tuesday though, and both Laguna Mountains and I were spared from contact with too many people. ;-)

I continued further north on Sunrise Highway, to where it ends and meets Highway 79. Cuyamaca Lake was so incredibly full after the storms, the eastern part of it that is normally completely dry, and more like a meadow, was completely flooded (last photo in the gallery).

The clouds from the west became more threatening again and I made my way back home in the afternoon – wouldn’t want to get caught in the snow with normal tires and without chains!

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