Lake Hughes Road - kenkistler

You know a road is a fun drive when a dozen Lamborginis come ripping through the last bend just as you drive up.


The road is one of three that bends up through the Angeles National Forest where I live. Lake Hughes is the furthest away and arguably the windiest. It starts below a massive dam and reservoir winds up into the mountains following along a deep canyon. It’s the type of road where driving on one side could kill you at any moment if a stray rock tumbled off the cliff. The other side of the road threatens to kill you with constant curves bending toward the open air drop.


I love those types of drives!


I wound up the road trying to keep my eyes on the hair-pin turns instead of watching the beautiful trees with their changing leaves swaying down in the canyon. Finally I found a turn off, parked the car, and hiked down over the edge toward the canyon bottom. Oh, how dearly I wanted to hike both up and down the canyon looking for just the right photography spot, but the shadows from the mountains above were already darkening the canyon floor.


When I lost the light on the canyon floor I hiked back out and jumped back in the car to find one other location. Several months ago on a trip with our school I’d driven up this same canyon through several of the countless square miles burned by the Powerhouse Fire this past spring. The way the blackened tree trunks covered acre after acre haunted me. Now I wanted to get back.


I felt a bit like a homeless wraith wandering between the lifeless hulks of trees with only the sound of the wind whistling through the hills to keep me company. This is why I love photography, finding these locations, capturing them in images, and showing others the beauty of creation.