Thursday, May 30, 2013

Photo Essay: Follow the River

When I was in Temecula last weekend, I wanted to do some hiking, but the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve was closed for hazardous conditions, so I was forced to find another trail.



In nearby Fallbrook, just inside the San Diego County border, there is a grouping of land parcels protected by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy, though its trailheads are hard to find even when driving right past them. I managed to find the well-marked parking area for the Santa Margarita River Trail, though the river itself wasn't immediately obvious. A depression in the earth looked more like a beach.



But I followed alongside the soft-bottom path...



... hopping between its scattered rocks...



...until I found water - a visible, audible, free-flowing stream that suddenly appeared...



...and then disappeared again behind the overgrowth.



Tiptoeing along the path, I was teetering along the precipice of...something...



...not sure where I was going, my only guide a cell phone picture of a map at the trailhead.



I only knew I had to keep following the river.



And if I followed the river, rather than diverting off at the various junctures I passed...



...I wouldn't get lost.



I kept trudging through the loose remnants of the old riverbank...



...slogging past wildflowers...



...until I found myself inside the depression itself, tree roots exposed by the river that once flowed here. I was no longer following the path of the river, I was in the river. But the river was not there.

I decided to turn around here, rather than trying to rediscover water, and seeing the Santa Margarita to its inevitable end. It was a short hike, but sometimes it's nice to know where you're going.

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