It's interesting how things can change so fast. So Cal had one of the wettest winters on record with storms dropping rain measured in feet not inches in the San Gabriel Mountains during January, February and early March 2005. 2006 was near normal, this last year ended with it being the driest winter since record keeping began in the area. (We measure our year for rain from July to June hence 3 years being referenced).
The San Gabriel River went from rushing torrents, to steady river to finally being turned off this spring. It is so dry that the land has become dust inches deep. Kind of scary, but the western states have been in a very persistent drought the last 9 or so years so we were lucky to get what we got I suppose.
Walking the river yesterday I noticed for the first time how bad it has actually gotten in terms of dryness. Cacti, in particular the "beaver tail" are drying up. Dessication isn't pretty. Once plump and green they are slowly withering and yellowing. Wrinkling like some old prune.
Fortunately these are very drought resistant and even if the mother plant dies there are ample seeds and rootlets to bring the area back once water returns. It may take years to repopulate the washes and ravines but the historical cycle for the area is very wet followed by many years of drought. They adapted to it. Just sad to see it all drying up and dying off when it was so green a few years ago.
Enjoy the pics. Shot raw, 3 files bracketed 2 stops. Post processed with HDR and Tone mapped with the Photomatix programs. After that its dumbed back down to jpeg for final processing in virtual photographer and resized for here.