I did some research a week or two ago about some awesome places to shoot in the San Diego area. I was in the mood to get out of Long Beach and head south. I came across this place called Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve. I read about it and my eyes immediately saw WATERFALL ON VOLCANIC ROCKS (and nothing else) and I was sold! So I grabbed my compadres (Stephanie, Sean, and the puppy Nellie) and we left Long Beach at around 10am. Now if you are familiar with Southern California and the distance between Long Beach and San Diego, you will realize this was a bad move on my part due to the fact that it takes 1.5 hours to get there (with minimal traffic) putting us there at 11:30 around the hottest part of the day! Not a smart move. Score one for Ashley :).
We arrive at Los Penasquitos at 11:30am look at the trusty map to find out where this awesome waterfall is. The map says 2.7mi to the waterfall (Score another one for Ashley). “Awesome!” we all thought, as 2.7mi at the time did not seem too far. Now when you think of waterfalls you think of a nice shady area covered with trees. We thought this too as the first part of the hike was in a shady area covered with trees. Boy were we wrong.
The picture above is at the beginning of the hike and it looked like this for the entire 2.7mi hike. EEK! Mind you, it’s noon at this point (Score another for Ashley.) Now I have not won my compadres over at this point, but the only thing that saved me from them completely tearing my face off is the fact that I brought tons of water and snacks. We’re talking beef jerky, chex mix, pretzels, and who doesn’t love snacks like that right?
Tons of sweat, sore feet, about 2 hours and 2.7mi later we arrive at the grand waterfall! Or lack there of (Score another for me!). Luckily though there was volcanic rock and water, but the rock was blocking the maybe 6 foot waterfall drop. So I felt like I wasted my compadres time by walking all this way to get a waterfall that looked like this:
Regardless of everything that happened we had a great laugh on the way back and I ended up getting some amazing shots. Oh, but that’s not all. Of course our luck hadn’t changed. On the 2.7mi hike back we are on the lonely path back to “civilization” where all of a sudden we see tons of buzzing flying things. Of course there was a swarm of bees blocking the path (another one for me!), and none of us wanted to get stung to death My Girl style, so we hiked off path. We stomped down bushes, and twigs totally did it Bear Grylls style, minus the fact that Stephanie and I got our legs all cut up by doing it Bear Grylls style (and another one for me! Are you still keeping score at this point? I’m not). Finally we passed the bees and warned fellow passerby on the swarm they were going to face up ahead. Closer and closer we got back to the car and we are all on a mission to enjoy the Lunchables I have waiting for us in the cooler in my car (the best right?). Stephanie then yells, “AHHH wtf was that??” Sean and I look back at her, give her a confused look and were like “What?” She says, “I don’t know it was a red winged thing with a huge stinger and it flew at me and then landed on a flower?” We were like “Oh weird!” and we carried on our journey.
We get back to the car (finally!) with a very tired pup, sore feet, sun burns, and hunger, our curious minds wanted to know what this bug was that Steph saw. Well apparently it is this bug called a Tarantula Hawk! And as you would guess it eats tarantulas! As per Wikipedia “the tarantula hawk is relatively docile and rarely stings without provocation. However the sting is among the most painful of any insect, though the intense pain only lasts for about 3 minutes. Commenting on his own experience, Justin Schmidt described the pain as “…immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations.” In terms of scale, the wasp’s sting is rated near the top of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, second only to that of the bullet ant and is described by Schmidt as “blinding, fierce [and] shockingly electric”. And this is what this thing looks like:
Well if you are still keeping score, congratulations! The results would show that I suck!! Overall though this was a very memorable experience and I got amazing pictures out of it! Surprisingly though my compadres have all been out with me on other photoshoot adventures (they live life on the edge).
There is a moral to this story: Don’t come with me on photoshoots. Oh wait, that’s not it. Actually look at the information you research ;).
Enjoy the pictures 🙂