Sunday, July 29, 2012

Strawberry Creek Gorge

A.K.A. locally as "The Grotto".
This is one of those "right in my back yard, but missed it" locations.  Strawberry Creek emerges out of the ground high up on Mt. San Jacinto and then winds its way down gently all through the village of Idyllwild. I know the area pretty well by now, but there is one section of town that I haven't explored, because it is occupied by the large campus of Idyllwild Arts prep school ( a well known private high school that teaches performing arts, music and visual art at a very high level to talented kids from all over the world).
As it turns out, right behind the school property is where the creek exits town on its way down to the flatlands far below, and also where it enters a large, deep and steep gorge.  Quite impressive... and the perfect place to spend hours enjoying the stream and the granite formations that have been carved into smooth, sweeping shapes over thousands of years by the flowing water.  
Right now, in the midst of the dry season, the stream is barely trickling through here, but there are still some small pools of cool water to be seen and the lack of flow makes it easier and safer to wander around, I'm sure.  Don't know how I just now found about this.. apparently it's well known by the long-time locals and, of course, the students at the school. It's supposed to be off-limits to them because of the danger, but what kid could resist, when it's right there, right?
I recently took one exploratory hike just to find it, and then the other day, went back to spend an hour or two doing some quick abstract studies.  What a great location... hundreds of potential subjects all in a contained area... and if you go at the right time, you won't be bothered by anybody.  This image and a few to come, were done in the mid-day summer sun, so not really ideal conditions... but by thinking in monochrome, which adds to the abstraction, I can usually make a few shots work.