San Antonio Falls isn't far off the beaten path but within a half hour of the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA. Located in Mt. Baldy just bellow San Antonio peak this water fall is fed by natural springs. This year we had quite a bit of rain and snow, nearly a 100 year record! With so much rain part of the trail leading to the falls was washed out and I had to carefully make my way along a steep hill to get to the falls. But the effort was worth it. Just down the road from here a gentleman said the falls were spectacular about 2 weeks before with the snow melt. The previous 4 years have been a drought period and the falls just trickled so this years precipitation really made the falls sing.
Sunday 19 June was a warm clear day here in Southern California so I decided to get out of the city with my girlfriend. We took off to Azusa to go up highway 39. I had worked up here on Mission Impossible II in '99, we worked up near Highway 2 which is some 30 miles up the San Gabriel Canyon from where we parked in Azusa. It was beautiful up there and Carol, my girlfriend, had never been up there and she is a native of Southern California. Along the way there were several lakes that were empty in 1999 so with all the rain this winter I thought they may be full so off we went. On the way up we passed the lakes, they were pretty but I couldn't get to a good spot to shoot a panorama. The last lake was a catch basin, to help moderate the floods that come down the canyon in the storm years. The catch basin was almost empty but a little farther up the road there were a lot of cars parked on the shoulder so we stopped. Down in the bottom of the canyon were a bunch of 4 wheel drive trucks wallowing in the mud along side the river. They were having such fun in the mud, most were mired in the mud and those that weren't were pulling the others out. Shot a few panos here but I wanted to be closer, I needed to be down in the river with them. That was an all day project so we continued up the road. Just a few miles further the road was closed due to the winter rains having washed out several spots of the highway. We turned around and then took another road which led us to a road along the ridge of the mountains, beautiful bit of road but narrow. About 12 miles down the ridge road we ended up in Mt Baldy so we poked around here and I shot a few panos along side a flowing creek but still not what I was looking for. We went over to the ski area but it was too late to catch the lift to the top of the mountain. We went back down toward Mt Baldy village stopped for a cool drink and the proprietor told us about the water fall just up the road. He had said just a few weeks before had been the best time to view the falls due to the snow melt which is almost gone now. We parked at the trail head and hiked up the fire road about 15 minutes where we found the cutoff for the falls. As we continued down the trail we came upon a section of the trail around the hill that was almost completely washed out. My Girlfriend didn't like the looks of the trail so she stayed behind and I continued around the hill clinging to the side of the hill and hoping I didn't slip and end up 100 ft down the canyon. After this part the rest of the trail was easy to the falls. This part of the canyon was in shade and getting cold, it was close to 6PM, so I shot several panos and got a little damp in the process then made my way back to the cutoff and my girlfriend. It's such a shame that people who visit the wild areas bring their urban trash and leave it for others to clean up. I came across socks by the falls and refuse all along the trail. I didn't have a plan for shooting my pano but instead just poked around and hoped to discover something interesting I hadn't planned on. I love going out without plan and seeing were the day takes me.
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