Field Trips Log
July 2006

Saturday, 1 July 2006 (Old Ridge Route and Bouquet Canyon, San Gabriel Mts)

Today I went in search of the elusive deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) which Richard and I had been looking for ever since we saw it listed in Milt Stark's book of Antelope Valley wildflowers. I had e-mailed Milt to see if he could give me some specific locations to look for it, and armed with his gracious and informative answer, I set out up the I-15 toward Gorman, turning east on the 138 and then diverging onto the Old Ridge Route. The Old Ridge Route was built in 1915 and was the first direct road to cross the mountains. Prior to its construction, motorists travelling north from Los Angeles had to go on the 101 up the coast or by a roundabout route that is now SR-14 and SR-58 through Mojave and Bakersfield. It goes 26 miles from Gorman to Castaic, reaches its high point at 4,233', and was once graced along the way with restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, which people patronized as they travelled along at a stately 15 mph. When Highway 99 (eventually to become the I-5) was completed in 1933, the Old Ridge Route was no longer necessary, but it has been maintained by the Forest Service and was a passable road until it was damaged by the heavy rains of January, 2005, and was closed. Subsequently, the northern five miles of it have been reopened, and it is to be hoped that the rest of it will be too.

It frequently happens to me that the locational information I get from people doesn't make complete sense to me until I am actually in the area, and of course then it is too late to ask details that would make the directions easier to follow, and so it was in this case. Not being entirely sure of where the Balsamorhiza was along this road, I crept along for several miles carefully perusing the side of the road and looking for the bank on top of which Milt had said he saw a colony of it. I also had no idea how long ago he had seen it and as the day wore on without spotting any sign of it, I began to think it wasn't there anymore. It is a species with large deltoid dark-green leaves and this should have stood out fairly well among the many buckwheats and other plants that lined the roadside. Southern mountain woolstar (Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum) was very much in evidence with its bunches of beautiful blue flowers, a sight that is somewhat unexpected on a July day in a very dry area. Some cobweb thistles (Cirsium occidentale var. occidentale) poked up out of the buckwheats and sagebrush along with the occasional scarlet bugler.

Milt had said that the plants were, he thought, within the first mile after the beginning of the Old Ridge Route, which I thought was where the unsurfaced road began, and I had driven several miles without seeing it. But then I began to suspect that it actually began at the 138 and that I just hadn't been looking soon enough, so I drove back and retraced my steps slowly over that first mile, and very quickly saw what looked like it on a grassy bank above and on the south side of the road. I pulled over and managed to climb across a wire fence to the first of the plants, and Voila! There it was, several clumps with the distinctively-shaped leaves, but even though it had flowering stems and
even some dried up flowers, it was clearly past its bloom time. But it had definitely bloomed this year and so I knew where I could find it again next year. In the same area I found quite a few giant four o'clocks (Mirabilis multiflora) and along the road some very robust rose snapdragons (Antirrhinum multiflorum).

Next I turned off on the Pine Canyon Road. This is the road that goes past the trailhead to the Liebre Mountain trail, and it had been burned rather badly by the Pine Fire in 2004. Very soon I saw another colony of it in about the same shape. Along the road through the burn area there was a beautiful display of poodle-dog bush (Turricula parryi). I continued on the Pine Canyon Road (N2), turned right on the Elizabeth Lake Road (still N2) and right again on Bouquet Canyon Road. Milt had said that the second colony was just over the Lincoln Crest as you head south from the Leona Valley toward the Bouquet Canyon Reservoir, and sure enough even though they were on another grassy hillside several hundred yards away from the road, I had no trouble seeing them. Walking over to them filled my socks and shoes with sharp grass seeds, and when I got to them I was disappointed to find that not a single plant even had a flowering stem on it, so these must not have bloomed this year for some reason. When I got back to the car, I had to take my shoes and socks off and drive home barefoot. I hadn't really expected the plants to be flowering because Munz gives April to June as the blooming period, but at least I had accomplished what I set out to do, to locate them for next year.

Sunday, 2 July 2006 (San Bernardino Mts)

Today I drove up into the San Bernardinos with my friend Richard Sapiro. My goal was to photograph a species I had only seen pictures of but which I had gotten a location for from Bob Reed, the Curator of the Heaps Peak Arboretum over near Lake Arrowhead, Rothrock's nama (Nama rothrockii). I figured we would find the Nama, then spend some time over in the Holcomb Valley area, and finally go down to the Arboretum to do some more follow-up on the plant list I was trying to prepare for them, since the one they now have is about 20 years old. Bob had given me very good directions and as we drove up the dusty and bumpy Van Dusen Canyon Road, we saw Columbia cutleaf (Hymenopappus filifolius var. lugens) in bloom which Richard had never seen, and other things like Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), santolina pincushion (Chaenactis santolinoides) and slender wildcabbage (Caulanthus major var. major), the latter two in good bloom. We stopped at a nice area under some pines where we found an amazing patch of white lupines (maybe andersonii), a single Big Bear Valley phlox (Phlox dolichantha), a fairly rare species, flax-leaved monardella (Monardella linoides var. stricta), and many of the beautiful bluish form of plain mariposa lilies (Calochortus invenustus) that inhabits this eastern part of the Holcomb Valley.

We turned left on the 3N16 and headed west past Polique Canyon Road, looking for the road where Bob had told us were the namas. Along the way we saw some excellent displays of great red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata var. miniata) and pine green-gentian (Swertia neglecta). The road we were seeking, the 3N08, wasn't hard to find and as directed we drove along it about 1/8 of a mile and parked just as the road began to descend steeply. Over to the right in a heavily vegetated stream channel we found a geranium which was new to me, California geranium (Geranium californicum), Rydberg's horkelia (Horkelia rydbergii) and smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum). We walked down the road and up over the next hill, a section deeply rutted and rocky that I never would have even attempted to drive, and just where Bob said they were next to the road was a gorgeous grouping of Nama rothrockii. If I hadn't known what I was looking for, I doubt I would have guessed that this was a Nama. It was curious that it seemed to be confined to an area only about 20-30' in diameter. On the way back to the car we saw San Bernardino ragwort (Senecio bernardinus), Parish's bedstraw (Galium parishii), woodland spurge (Euphorbia palmeri), and a Tetradymia well past blooming that looked to me like spineless horsebrush (T. canescens). Our last found in that location was some Bear Valley milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. sierrae) with its beautifully patterned bladdery fruits and a few delicate blooms. Just before we got back to the car, Richard stepped off the road looking first at a huge growth of some kind of a fungus, and then at something else, and discovered a much better, much larger patch of Nama than we had seen before. And many of these plants were just coming into flower whereas the other ones were on their way out.

We drove back on the 3N16 toward the Belleville Meadows area of the Holcomb Valley where I had been several times before on botany field trips. I was looking for California broom-rape (Orobanche californica ssp. feudgei) which I had encountered there before but never in very good shape. Where we parked the ground was covered with sapphire woolstars (Eriastrum sapphirinum). We walked over into the meadow area and started looking around some sagebrush and rabbitbrush shrubs. I found the first one, a diminutive plant whose main purpose was to demonstrate that they were there and to give Richard a mental picture of what to look for. Then I found another, and just as I spotted what looked like a really good one, Richard found one that was in superb shape, absolutely prime condition, so I photographed that. We puzzled over a mustard that I was pretty sure was a Descurainia but I didn't know what species. There was also a lot of Wheeler's cinquefoil (Potentilla wheeleri) and silverleaf cinquefoil (P. anserina ssp. anserina) in good bloom. We saw some other things in the meadow like ashy-gray paintbrush (Castilleja cinerea) and the tiniest slender phlox (Phlox gracilis) I've ever seen, but by then the weather that had been threatening seemed to be getting worse and we were hearing booms of thunder to the east.

We had decided that we would head over to Green Canyon to see if we could find some mountain maples (Acer glabrum) that we had found on that trail once before but that I had never photographed, but by the time we got over to that area it was raining pretty hard, so we decided to leave that for another day. Basically it was another good day of botanizing.

Monday, 3 July 2006 (Green Canyon, San Bernardino Mts)

I drove up to Green Canyon this morning to search for the mountain maple, but I didn't have a whole lot of time and only got about a mile up the trail. I had been sure that the maple was toward the beginning of the trail, but maybe it was farther up than I remembered because I couldn't find it. Saw some beautiful blooms of American dogwood (Cornus sericea), California false-indigo (Amorpha californica var. californica), cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), slender wildcabbage (Caulanthus major var. major), and a few other things, but it was really the maple I had come for, and that apparently will have to wait for another time.

Saturday, 8 July 2006 (Baldy Notch, San Gabriel Mts)

My daughter Gracie and I took the chairlift up to Baldy Notch today to look for a plant that Jane Strong had told me about. Actually we had tried to do on the 4th of July, but my car overheated and began a process which eventually produced for me a new car, a Honda CR-V 4-wheel drive, so this was its maiden outing. The plant I was looking for was white-veined wintergreen (Pyrola picta) in the heath family, a family which also includes madrones, manzanitas, azaleas, huckleberries, prince's pines or pipsissewas, and the non-photosynthetic species called pinedrops and snow plants. Jane had given me specific directions to a particular junction of roads heading down from the Notch and to a particular tree with a sign on it under which Jane saw the wintergreen when she sat down to have her lunch. We walked down the road and Gracie spotted the tree right away, but it took me a couple of minutes to find the wintergreen because it was very short. But it is a fascinating plant, and by holding the stems a certain way I could take pictures looking right into the inflorescence so that you can see what are called the anther tubes.

As I did with Miriam, I was able to point out to Gracie some snow plants, and I also saw a lot of rock buckwheat (Eriogonum saxatile) and clasping-leaved caulanthus (Caulanthus amplexicaulis var. amplexicaulis). Gracie had fun climbing around in a bulldozer that was parked down by the maintenance area, and then we rode down on the chairlift.

Monday, 10 July 2006 (Devils Slide Trail, San Jacinto Mts)

I arranged to meet Tom Chester at the Humber Park trailhead this morning for what would be my second time up this particular trail, and although this was Tom's first time in a couple of years, it was his (I think) 14th visit. I was anxious to confirm some of the things that I had seen with Richard Sapiro on 29 June, clear up some things that I hadn't been sure about, and possibly see those things which we hadn't been able to find before. Tom was joined by his friend James Dillane who brought a pair of amazing eyes to the hunt. The weather seemed a bit warmer than the last time I was there, and Tom warned us that he might have to go slowly since he hadn't done any higher altitude hiking for the past couple of years.

At the very beginning of the trail I found a snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) underneath a pine. We headed up the hill through woods of canyon live oaks and black oaks, incense-cedars, white firs, and jeffrey and sugar pines. The indian milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) was in full bloom. When we got to the buckwheats Richard and I had seen before, Tom said that they were not the San Jacinto buckwheat (Eriogonum apiculatum) but rather the more common naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum). I guess I will have to wait for another time when I can get up to Saddle Junction and then go on the PCT toward the South Ridge trail, which I plan to do when we come back from France in August. As we continued up the trail, Tom pointed out the differences between greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula) and pink-bracted manzanita (Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea), then we saw the first San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernar-
). We had already seen several pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea) rising out of the pine needles, and then James spotted a lovely clump of them hiding under a Ceanothus. From that point on it seemed that we were seeing them everywhere, including some that were several feet tall and others that were just pushing up out of the ground. We looked at the plant that Tom had originally called Arabis ? and confirmed that it was as we suspected a Streptanthus, then studied some basal rosettes that were probably the same thing. I spotted an unusual-looking white-veined wintergreen (Pyrola picta) that had blooms but no leaves. We puzzled over that until we saw in the Jepson Manual that this plant is sometimes ± leafless.

When we reached the first moist drainage from Jolley Spring, we searched without success for the brittle fern (Cystopteris fragilis), then spent a good deal of time on the monkeyflowers there, which were pilosus, guttatus and floribundus. I photographed Idaho bentgrass (Agrostis idahoensis), fragile sheath sedge (Carex fracta) and long-leaved rush (Juncus macrophyllus), then Tom pointed out the tiny Tiehm's rush (Juncus tiehmii) and confirmed that what I had thought was brown-headed rush (Juncus phaeocephalus var. paniculatus) was indeed that species. In his guide Tom makes this interesting observation: "The two taxa above make an interesting pair here; Carex fracta is a rush-like Carex (from the inflorescence), and Juncus phaeocephalus is a sedge-like Juncus (from the leaves)!" We met a couple of wildlife biologists who were heading up the mountain to do a survey of a possible flying squirrel population. I told them about the rattlesnake with black coloration that Richard and I had seen, and they filled us in that it was a Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis ssp. helleri), the common resident rattlesnake of these mountains.

At the next drainage, the one from Powderbox Spring, there was a mass of scarlet monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis) and some goldenrod (Solidago californica). The forest goosefoot (Chenopodium atrovirens) at that location turned out to be Fremont's goosefoot (Chenopodium fremontii), but there were many of the former species farther up the trail which was fortunate for me since I had never seen it before. The thing that primarily discriminates these two species is the ratio of length to width of the leaves. We crossed another drainage, from Middle Spring, and then were surprised by the discovery of a tiny pink-flowered Mimulus which Tom later keyed out as Brewer's monkeyflower (Mimulus breweri). The trail switchbacks right and left, crossing several drainages, passing a beautiful stand of great red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata). At one of the drier drainages, I pointed out the fern we had seen before and Tom agreed that it was Cystopteris fragilis. There also we saw green miner's lettuce (Claytonia parviflora ssp. viridis).

Higher up the trail we saw Parish's campion (Silene parishii), wax currant (Ribes cereum var. cereum), musk monkeyflower (Mimulus moschatus) and Tiling's monkeyflower (Mimulus tilingii), hairy wood rush (Luzula comosa). As we were nearing the top of the trail we saw a single spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata), then Tom pointed out the perennial rock-cress (Arabis perennans) that I had missed last time. At a wonderful little seepy area in a shaded section of woods, we found streambank lotus (Lotus oblongifolius var. oblongifolius), long-anthered rush (Juncus macrandrus), alpine pearlwort (Sagina saginoides) and tinker's penny (Hypericum anagalloides), the last three species being new for me.

When we got to Saddle Junction, we headed off on the PCT toward South Ridge to show James the San Jacinto lupine (Lupinus hyacinthinus) and to look for the Hulsea Richard and I had been unable to find last time. Unfortunately it still had not put in an appearance, so that along with the little prince's pine (Chimaphila menziesii) had still eluded us. But there's always a next time, and we'll find them sooner or later. After having a bite to eat, we headed back down, reaching the parking lot just as it was getting dark.

NOTE: I have made a special page about the many monkeyflower species of this trail which may be accessed here.

Friday, 14 July 2006 (Palo Comado Canyon, Santa Monica Mts)

Today I walked into Palo Comado Canyon from Doubletree Avenue off of Kanan Road. It is about 0.4 miles to the Palo Comado Canyon trail. It was very hot and very dry. I was there because Jay Sullivan had told me that a species I was looking for was in bloom, the non-native skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea). Once you reach the Palo Comado trail itself, you can go about 0.1 mile to the right to reach the Ranch Connector trail which goes over some hills and eventually meets the Sulphur Springs trail in Chesebro Canyon. If you go to the left, the trail goes either to China Flats or to the Sheep Corral at the top of Chesebro Canyon. I started walking north and in about a half-mile saw the first skeletonweed with a bright yellow flower. Many of the plants I saw had flowers already in seed, but there were enough flowers to get some good photographs. It was too hot to do much of anything else, so since I had gotten what I came for I went home.

Saturday, 15 July 2006 (Pebble Plains, San Bernardino Mts)

Today was an interesting day. First I was able to get a plant in bloom that I had seen a couple of times before not in flower and then I had a serious senior moment. To begin, I drove up to Big Bear on the 330, passing a steady stream of traffic coming down the mountain. It made me think that there was some kind of an evacuation going on because of the Sawtooth Fire which has been raging out by Yucca Valley and Pioneertown, but then if there had been I didn't think they would still be letting traffic go up the mountain. For a while Big Bear, which is only about eight miles from the fire, appeared to be threatened but then the fire took off in a different direction. I still don't know why there was so much traffic coming down the mountain.

My first destination was a little peninsula that juts into the south side of Big Bear Lake called Eagle Point. There is a meadow there that is part of the Big Bear Valley Preserve, and one of the plants that grows there is called alternatively cottony clay-flower, plantain goldenweed, Bear Valley haplopappus (because it did use to be in that genus) or Bear Valley pyrrocoma (Pyrrocoma uniflora var. gossypina). I don't know where these names come from, but the latter seems the most appropriate to me and is the that one I use. I walked across the meadow and began searching for the Pyrrocoma. It wasn't hard to find the plants but I was chagrined at first to see only basal rosettes. Then I saw a few plants with nice flowering stems but no flowers. I had just about reconciled myself to the idea that I would have to return later in the summer, when I spotted an open yellow flower, then a half dozen or so more. The Jepson Manual describes this species as rare, inhabiting an area of the San Bernardinos near Big Bear Lake, which is just where I was. It grows to about 38 cm tall and the herbage is very woolly-tomentose. I got my photographs and headed on. Thanks by the way to Tim Krantz for refreshing my memory as to exactly where this location was.

I drove over the Stanfield Cut-off and then up Polique Canyon Road. I needed to find a location along forest road 3N12 where a botany acquaintance in May had photographed a plant and put a picture of it on the Calphotos website, and this is where the senior moment came in. The plant was identified by her as Senecio ionophyllus and I wanted to try to find it. She had sent me a picture she took of the road from the approximate location of the plant so I had no difficulty finding the right spot. There was a beautiful dryish-looking meadow on one side and a bit of pebbly-plain area on the other. I walked along the fence line looking carefully at the base of each fence post where she said she'd seen the plant and the only one I thought might fit the bill looked to me like Senecio bernardinus. Based on my belief that there is never only one of something in a particular place, I climbed through the fence and scoured the area, finding in the process some lovely condensed phlox (Phlox condensata), ashy-gray paintbrush (Castilleja cinerea), Bear Valley sandwort (Arenaria ursina), Parry's rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus parryi var. asper), showy Brewer's lupine (Lupinus breweri var. grandiflorus), plain Mariposa lilies (Calochortus invenustus), sulphur-flowered buckwheats (Eriogonum umbellatum var. ?) and more Tehachapi ragworts (Senecio bernardinus). By this time I had pretty well decided that my friend had been incorrect in the identification (ionophyllus and bernardinus are very close and are next to each other in the keys), but I was somewhat dis-
appointed that I wasn't going to get the one I was looking for. Later in the day, when I got home I was looking at her photo again, and I noticed something I had overlooked before, several leaves with toothed apical margins, something that is very characteristic of S. bernardinus. This convinced me even further that her ID was not right. Then I googled images of Senecio ionophyllus to see if anyone else had any pictures of it, and the only two pictures of it that came up were mine! I finally remembered having seen this species at at least two different locations in the San Gabriels Mts, where it is more common than in the San Bernardinos, and I felt totally stupid. I don't know if it really was a senior moment or more a function of the fact that I have almost 2,000 taxa now in my website and I just can't remember everything I have or don't have. There are so many names flying around in my head that I sometimes think I'm forgetting as many as I'm learning.

Later I spent a couple of hours at the Belleville (spelled for some reason on the sign there as Bellevill) Meadows area along an area of the 3N16 known as the Gold Fever Trail, so called because it was a hotbed of mining activity during the gold rush of the 1860's. Many of the local names still in existence like Van Dusen Canyon (after Jed Van Dusen), Belleville Meadow (after Belle Van Dusen) and Holcomb Valley (after Bill Holcomb) harken back to that fascinating period of our local history. I collected a sample of the mustard that Richard and I had puzzled over on 2 July to send to Tom for identification, looked without success for yet another rare species, Thelypodium stenopetalum, and then headed home.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006 (Devils Slide Trail, San Jacinto Mts)

Today I drove down to the San Jacintos for the third time in as many weeks. Tom had spotted a little prince's pine (Chimaphila menziesii) in bloom 2.26 miles up the trail on his last excursion a few days ago and I wanted to photograph that. Also, on our last visit to this trail we had talked about the ssp. of Galium angustifolium that can sometimes be found here, and Tom had sent me voucher information about places to look for it, one of which was around Lake Fulmor on Highway 243 between Banning and Idyllwild which is the road I take to get there. So I stopped there and walked in on the road that leads past the little lake to the James Reserve, which is part of an extensive system of reserves managed by the University of California. Unfortunately for me today, you can only get into the James Reserve by permission (I was in there once on a botany field trip organized by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden) so I thought I would likely not find the Galium.

I had seen a bunch of Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium in several places along the road where I stopped on the way up, and I had seen many more in the woods just as I walked in toward the Reserve. They were good-
sized shrubby plants, multi-stemmed and intricately branched, with many-flowered inflorescences and leaves that were mostly very short, only about 10-15 mm. The ones I was trying to find had been described by Tom as depauperate in appearance with much longer leaves, not very branched, and with few flowers, but I still had no mental picture to apply to the search. So it was with total elation and surprise that when I happened to put my backpack down to get something out of it, there right next to it was this little plant about 20 cm tall, obviously a Galium, with only a few fruits on it and very long narrow leaves. I began looking around and realized that I had walked right past a major population of these bedstraws which were so inconspicuous that I had failed to see them, but now that I had a better mental image of them I started seeing them all over. For the most part they were single-stemmed, none of them more than 30 cm tall, and all with few fruits in open inflorescences and very long leaves that were completely different from the shrubbier taxa. I even found a few that were still in good bloom, so I was fairly sure that this was the San Jacinto Mountains bedstraw (Galium angustifolium ssp. jacinticum). What a great stroke of luck! I collected a sample to confirm the identification with Tom. When we got together at the ranger station, I showed him the sample and he was pretty sure as well that it was that taxa.

Standing by our cars in the parking lot at Humber Park, James Dillane pointed out a mistletoe on an incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) and we realized that Tom did not have it on his plant guide. It was incense-cedar mistletoe (Phoradendron libocedri) and since I had never seen it before, this was my first opportunity to photograph it. All we had to do was find some on an incense-cedar on the trail, and we almost immediately found some on a tree just a bit offtrail. Except for down near the parking lot and up near Saddle Junction, the trail for some reason is almost devoid of incense-cedars. As we hiked up the trail, Tom told us about his investigations into the differently-appearing forms of Rhamnus that he had been seeing, forms of R. californica and R. tomentella that were so variable and intermixed throughout their range that he suspects that they should not be considered as separate taxa. We had intensively botanized this trail several times recently so we were able to move along at a pretty good pace to the first drainage where there was a grass species that I wanted to photograph, slender hair-grass (Deschampsia elongata). It was not very exciting just a basal clump of leaves and a long, slender flowering stem about 20 cm tall hiding at the moist base of a boulder.

After that we kept going, mostly checking things that were already on the guide, and Tom keeping track of how many species were in bloom. The little Brewer's monkeyflowers (Mimulus breweri) were not doing so well where we had seen them last time, but maybe it was just their time to be finished. The San Jacinto Mountains keckiella was in much better bloom than I had seen it before, and the Parish's catchfly (Silene parishii) and shaggy hawkweed (Hieracium horridum) blooms were nicely open. We found the one little prince's pine (Chimaphila menziesii) hiding under the edge of a boulder, and I was amazed that Tom had ever spotted it in the first place. Regrettably, it was not in the best shape, so I will continue to look for better examples of this interesting flower. We found some southern monardella (Monardella australis) and then reached the point where we had seen the tinker's penny (Hypericum anagalloides) and the alpine pearlwort (Sagina saginoides), which was I had decided as far as I was going to go today. The tinker's penny was in much better condition, the blooms more orange and open, and James managed to find a single bloom of the pearlwort. As tiny as the head of a pin and yet I was lucky enough to be able to get a fairly decent picture of it. Offtrail on the right there were some white flowers that Tom thought were yarrow, but when we went down to see, although some were yarrow, there was also Parish's yampah (Perideridia parishii ssp. parishii).

I stopped to have something to eat and Tom and James continued on up the trail to further investigate the Willow Creek Trail. I will have to wait for Tom's next report to find out what treasures they might have found. I felt very fortunate to be able to hike in the company of such knowledgeable and friendly souls.

As an aside, somewhere along the trail the subject of Mt. Baden-Powell came and how the name should be correctly pronounced. I had gotten into the habit of saying it "bah-den"-"powell," possibly because of the town in Germany called Baden-Baden ("bah-den"-"bah-den"), but both Tom and James said that they thought it was pronounced "bay-den"-"powell." Now I'm one of those people who has to investigate these kinds of matters and resolve them, so I turned to the usually reliable internet and it turns out curiously enough that we were all wrong. A humorous little verse penned by Robert Baden-Powell himself goes as follows:

                                                                "Man, Nation, Maiden
                                                                 Please call it Baden.
                                                                 Further, for Powell
                                                                 Rhyme it with Noel."

But, as Tom later pointed out to me, "Places are pronounced in geography the way the LOCALS pronounce them, regardless of whether they were named for someone or something else. For example, 'New Madrid, Missouri' is pronounced 'New MAD-rid', not 'New Mah-DRID', the way the Spanish town is pronounced, because that is the way the people who live there pronounce it." And we have a street in Sierra Madre that our local residents pronounce as "LIE-ma" not as "LEE-ma." Apparently the common pronunciation of the mountain is "BAY-den POW-ell," so I will stop trying to get my mouth around that other awkward pronunciation. Thanks, Tom, for saving me from that obligation.

Saturday, 22 July 2006 (Mt. San Antonio, San Gabriel Mts)

On a day when the temperatures in some inland valleys were predicted to go as high as 115° (and later this was actually announced on the news as possibly the hottest day ever recorded in Los Angeles), Richard Sapiro and I joined Cliff and Gabi McLean, Candy Byers and Mickey Long for a hike to the summit of Mt. San Antonio, better known as Mt. Baldy. We rode up the chairlift and set out around 9 am, and with the sun out it was pretty warm even at the elevation of 7775'. The beginning of the trail is a hard slog up a steep slope. We found ourselves taking advantage of rest stops to study some of the plants like woolly mountain parsley (Oreonana vestita), beaked penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus), California fuchsia (Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium) and various buckwheats such as Davidson's (Eriogonum davidsonii), rock (E. saxatile), alpine sulpher-flowered (E. umbellatum var. minus) and Wright's (E. wrightii var. subscaposum). The Notch and surrounding areas were awash in the beautiful giant blazing star (Mentzelia laevicaulis), one of the most dramatic wildflowers of our mountain areas. Soon bush chinquapin (Chrysolepis sempervirens) began lining the trail, covered both with lush spikes of flowers and spiny seedpods.

The trail began to flatten out and we crossed the Devil's Backbone. There was a pleasant breeze that was especially enjoyable when we could stop in the shade of a pine tree, of which there were limber (Pinus flexilis), lodgepole (P. contorta ssp. murrayana), jeffrey (P. jeffreyi) and sugar (P. lambertiana). We began to encounter two shrubby species whose bloom was pretty much done, smoothleaf yerba santa (Eriodictyon trichocalyx var. trichocalyx) and small-leaved creambush or mountain spray (Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus). Later and higher there would be plenty of both in prime blooming condition. Everywhere there was curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius var. intermontanus) beginning to produce its feathery curlique achenes. Off to one side we spotted a patch of gray monardellas (Monardella cinerea). I don't know where this name came from because they don't look gray to me at all. The small wavy-edged leaves are a dull green, the bracts are a dark reddish-purple, and the corollas are rose-colored. Later we would see a tremendous bloom of this species on the barren rocky hillsides going across the summit ridge. We also spotted a single Parish's catchfly (Silene parishii).

Mickey spotted an extremely interesting plant, California ground cone (Boschniakia strobilacea), which I had only seen once before out on Santa Rosa Island in May of this year, then I noticed some leaves up on a bank that I thought was possibly a Streptanthus at first, but then when I saw the fruits the identification came to me, showy cycladenia (Cycladenia humilis var. venusta), although I couldn't quite get the name out until I got home. And it was in bloom! The only other place I've ever seen this was near the top on Mt. Baden-Powell. Then someone spotted an Arabis which I'm pretty sure was broad-seeded rock-cress (Arabis platysperma), and Mickey's sharp eyes noticed an onion. We had been seeing the dried inflorescences of them all along the trail but this was the first one in bloom, and then there were quite a few of them hiding among the rocks. We tentatively identified it as San Bernardino mountain onion (Allium monticola). Also hiding among the rocks were a couple of Johnston's monkeyflowers (Mimulus johnstonii), which is a small but spectacularly beautiful flower.

As we drew ever closer to Mt. Baldy itself, dark clouds began gathering over the summit and a few rumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance. The sun was now blocked and the temperature went down significantly, something that none of us regretted. Mickey spotted a little green flowering plant that appeared to be a member of the Asteraceae family. I couldn't place it at all except that the flower looked like a Hieracium to me because it was all ligulate and didn't appear to fully open, but the rest of the plant was obviously not any of the three Hieracium species we have in Southern California. Mickey eventually suggested a Crepis, which I thought was a definite possibility because I had never seen Crepis anywhere except in the Sierras. We collected samples and I took some photographs of it. Later at home, based on Mickey's suggestion, it only took a few minutes to come up with the correct identification, dwarf hawksbeard (Crepis nana). And my idea of Hieracium was not completely out to lunch because Hieracium and Crepis are closely related genera.

On the final series of uphill switchbacks leading to the summit, we saw a lovely Heuchera in bloom, but unfortunately I didn't collect a sample so am unable to say for sure what it was. Maybe I'll be able to tell from my pictures. About 1/4 mile below the summit, we heard a loud clap of thunder and saw some lightning flashes, and so we decided that the prudent thing to do would be to not be on top of Baldy in a thunderstorm. We turned around and headed back down, noticing for the first time a plume of smoke rising from a fire that apparently had just started over by the I-15 and highway 138. We stopped and had lunch and then continued back to the Notch with ash from the fire falling around us. All in all it had been an excellent outing, not too bad weather, some terrific finds, and good company. The outside temperature was 89° on my car thermometer when we left the parking area, and hit 110° on the freeway going home! I think we made a good choice to be where we went.

Day after tomorrow I'm leaving for France, so this will be my final field trip report for July.

NOTE: the Heuchera turned out to be an Abrams' alumroot (H. abramsii), a rare species that inhabits the Baldy summit area.