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High Up Above Trabuco Canyon

Trabuco Canyon Hike

Well, it's official. I'm in love with the Trabuco Canyon trail. You may notice I've been posting a lot of pictures from this area of the Cleveland National Forest recently. It's for 3 reasons: 1) I can actually get there now that I have a 4x4. 2) The weather has been gorgeous lately. And 3) I absolutely LOVE the scenery here!

It's like a little taste of Oregon right in Orange County. Yes, a very little taste, but a taste nonetheless. After all, where else in Orange County can you find stately spruce trees enshrouded in fog blanketing an entire mountainside? That's not to mention the creeks winding through the canyons.

I visited this trail again on Sunday, and this time, we made it all the way to a peak above 4000'. Total hike was about 6.6 miles with around 2000' elevation gain. Not the most treacherous I've done, but with 38 lbs of camera gear on my back, it was a solid workout. Luckily, we started off in the rain and the temperatures hovered around 52 degrees all day.

Here are my pictures from the day (click the panos for larger versions):

Trabuco Canyon Hike

Trabuco Canyon Hike

Trabuco Canyon Hike

Trabuco Canyon Hike

View from the top. We could see all the way to Catalina!

Trabuco Canyon Hike

Trabuco Canyon Hike

I've only scratched the surface of these Santa Ana Mountains. I'm sure I have many more years of exploring its depths ahead of me.

Trabuco Canyon in Heavy Fog

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

It was rainy and drizzly on and off this Easter Sunday, and since I'm too old to hunt for eggs, I thought I'd hit my favorite local trail, the Trabuco Canyon Trail.

Most people tend to hike when the weather is clear and mild, but not me. There's few things I love more in life than hiking in the rain and fog. So with the heavy cloud cover hanging over the local Santa Ana Mountains, I knew I'd be able to hike up into the clouds to get some great "forest in the fog" shots.

I had the trail all to myself and the fog was superb. Remember, all the following shots were taken in sunny southern California. I don't know about you, but had I seen these pictures without knowing where they were taken, I never would have guessed Orange County as the location.

Lots of similar shots here, but I loved them all. I played with the white balance quite a bit on some of these to get some cooler blue tones. I'm really happy with how these turned out. I can't wait to see how they look on Metallic Paper.

Alder Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Oak Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Oak Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Spruce Trees in Fog - Trabuco Canyon Trail, Orange County, CA

Thanks for viewin'!

 

Escondido Canyon Falls

My brother and I took a hike yesterday in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area near Malibu, CA to see Escondido Canyon Falls.

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

We'd never been here before and I've never even hiked in Los Angeles County before, but I read great things about this waterfall, so we decided to take a chance on it. There are an upper and lower falls that both consist of a long drop where water clings to the cliff in its descent. It's not a ton of water pouring off these crests, but the waterfalls are impressive nonetheless - especially for being tucked in this wealthy, densely populated area of the country. You really wouldn't expect to see waterfalls of this size here.

The lower falls is about 60' tall and is easy to get to. I didn't get any pictures of the lower falls because the light was ugly. But the second falls is an adventure to reach with very steep rock scrambling - part of which necessitated using some pre-tied ropes to assist your climb - and tight squeezes through brush. The reward, though, is worth it.

Most sources I find online say the upper falls is 120'-150'. I call foul on that. Can't be more than 80'. But still very impressive. Check the second picture below for scale (I'm on the left and I'm 6'2"), just keep in mind that the extreme wide angle I had to use for the shot distorts sizes and actually makes the falls look much smaller than it is.

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

Upper Escondido Canyon Falls - Malibu, CA

Overall, we must have hiked about 6 miles. Great work out, but I was beat by the end of it.