Sunday, April 18, 2010

24 hours in the Cuyamaca Mountains

View from the top of Stonewall Peak with the last rays of the setting sun:

Last Saturday, we did an overnight camping trip to the Cuyamaca Mountains. We were staying at Green Valley Falls campground and were fortunate to get a spot very close to the falls. Soon after arriving, we took a walk down to the falls to see how much water was flowing through them and what they looked like. The last time I was there in January, the recent snow was melting, which created a nice river through the valley. Fortunately, there was still a nice amount of water running. With the warmer weather, however, it also brought out a crowd of people playing in the icy water and sunning on the warm rocks. We decided to come back Sunday morning for photos.

One of our goals was to hike up Stonewall Peak and catch the sunset from the peak. Stonewall is 2 miles up and 2 miles down, with a 950 foot elevation gain (photo from January - snow is all melted now):
Photo of Stonewall Peak

We started the hike around 4:30 pm, which ended up being a bit early. The wind on the peak was cold and blowing strong and we had a bit of time to kill waiting for the sun to slowly set. I'm glad we waited though, as the setting sun lit up the clouds to the east:

We started down the mountain after the sun passed below the peaks to the west. The ambient light was enough to get us about halfway down, after that we had to turn on our flashlights to avoid stumbling on the rocky path. That night, it got down to 32 F - we had frost on the tent and covering the ground the next morning.

I got up around 7 AM, trying to wait for the sun to warm me up a little bit, but still early enough so that it wasn't shining directly into the Green Valley falls. I was also the first person down at the falls and I had their peace and beauty all to myself.

I was able to shoot for about an hour before the sun started shining through the trees, straight down the valley.

Stonewall Peak:

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