Tag Archives: cleveland national forest

Awesome field of California poppies near the summit.

Volcan Mountain Storm Hiking

Volcan Mountain Storm Hiking

My friend Alex Kunz and I decided a storm was the perfect time to get out and make some images.  This time, we picked Volcan Mountain outside of Julian, California.  We hiked in from the fire road to the Five Oaks Trail before reaching the summit.  This is a collection of images from the hike.

As always, clicking on any of the images will launch a slideshow.

While making images in the fog is always a lot of fun, there were other highlights.  The manzanitas looked amazing in the rain, with a beautiful sheen from the precipitation.  It was a unique look.

We also experienced “tree rain.”  For the most part, it wasn’t raining while we were hiking.  However, there was an immense amount of water in the trees, so every time the wind kicked up, rain dropped on us from above.

While the wildflower season is over in the lower elevations, we were pleasantly surprised to find beautiful wildflowers in the 4,000 to 5,200 elevations on Volcan Mountain.  The lupine were huge, if not sparse.  And as luck would have it, Alex wanted to check out a side trail on the top and wondered what the source of the orange was in the distance.  I immediately knew we were looking at California Poppies.  I had no idea they could be found in San Diego County, but it was perfect habitat.  On the wet side of the mountain, on an undisturbed hillside, it reminded me of the poppies that grown on Figureroa Mountain where I had been only weeks before.  This was an excellent treat.

Cedar Creek Falls Sucks

Cedar Creek Falls Sucks

This is quite something to say about what is the most picturesque waterfall in San Diego County.  After the closure of Cedar Creek Falls, I hoped that something could be done to reign in the partiers, jerks, and immature people clogging the falls every weekend.  After my first visit with the Cleveland National Forest’s permitting system, I was very disappointed.

So What Has Changed?

Virtually nothing has changed except for a guy who may check for your permit at the San Diego Country Estates parking lot.  Descending the trail to the Falls, there were a lot of people.  75 permits are supposed to be released per day, and you can name several people on the permit.  This was a weekend, and near the opening of the permitting system, so I wasn’t too concerned with the foot traffic.

As I approached the falls, I realized nothing had changed.  There was no Forest Service presence to be found anywhere.  People continued to cliff dive, which is strictly against the rules.  In fact, people were steading themselves with one hand, holding onto the No Diving Sign, while scaling their way up to dive.

Across the pond at the bottom of the fall, the tree in the alcove still had the swinging rope attached for more diving.

As my friends and I left, we encountered numerous people openly drinking out of beer cans to the falls.  This was a day that would get into the high 90s, and I even felt a little heat exhaustion heading back up the switchbacks.  Yet, there were more people, worrying about having a party than being safe, endangering themselves and others.

In fact, I overheard a conversation to my right where the people claimed they had continued visiting Cedar Creek Falls during the “closure.”  I have no doubt they were telling the truth, and by the absentee display of the Forest Service, no doubt they easily got away with it.

The half-ass measures put in by the Forest Service haven’t changed a thing.  Cedar Creek Falls is a beautiful place overrun by a bunch of clowns and partiers who are making the place an unpleasant and potentially unsafe location to see.  Their ignorance of this pre-closure helped provide the atmosphere that resulted in a death and very serious injury.  It simply doesn’t have to be this way.

Cedar Creek Falls Hall of Shame

I could post a ton of these images, but you will get to the point. Cleveland National Forest, you can do better!