JULY 2013
Photographs by Michael Charters

From Vincent Gap at 6585' the Pacific Crest Trail ascends fairly steeply for a while through an oak woodland and emerges into a lovely pine forest with beautiful views out over the Mojave Desert. Vincent Gap was named for Charles Tom Vincent (1838-1926), a Civil War veteran of Chancellorsville, whose real name was Charles Vincent Dougherty. He was a gold miner and the founder of the Big Horn Mine. On a hunting trip he and a friend were attacked by three bears. The story goes that he shot two of the bears and went after the third with a knife. The trail passes the turn-off to Jackson Lake and then the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center before arriving at Lightning Ridge and Blue Ridge Summit at 7360' on the Angeles Crest Highway, a distance of 4.6 miles from Vincent Gap. It is called Blue Ridge Summit because it is the highest point on the Angeles Crest Highway between Vincent Gap and Wrightwood. According to Tom Chester, Blue Ridge is named for the color of the rock, which is a distinctive blue-gray Pelona schist. Clouds and the occasional sprinkle of rain during the afternoon kept the temperature from rising too high, and the frozen bottles of water I've been carrying lately kept me nice and cool. The season is progressing and many of the things that have been blooming through the spring and early summer are done now, but other things are blooming in their stead. I went back a few days later with Tom and Walt Fidler to investigate the puzzle of which Ribes species are in this area. There is a voucher of lasianthum but that is almost certainly wrong, and in fact that taxon perhaps does not exist in Southern California at all. The dominant Ribes around this area is velutinum. See Tom's analysis page here. I have now completed my first pass on a 47-mile section of the PCT from Mill Creek Summit to Blue Ridge, and I have taken over 5000 pictures. Next week I will be continuing on the PCT south of Wrightwood on the long descent to Cajon, which I will break up into several sections. Following that I will go back to Mill Creek Summit and start westward toward Soledad Canyon Road. I anticipate that this will be a 3-5 year project enabling me to do each section of the trail at different times of the year and hopefully in years with different rainfall patterns. The photographs in this gallery were taken on 7/10/13 and 7/13/13. The list of species for this segment of the PCT is here.

Spineless horsebrush
Tetradymia canescens

California wild buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium

Leafy daisy
Erigeron foliosus var. foliosus
Parish's tauschia
Tauschia parishii

Southern mountain woolstar
Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum

Beaked penstemon
Penstemon rostriflorus
[Middle and right: Uncommon yellow

Flannel bush
Fremontodendron californicum

Wright's buckwheat
Eriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum

Few-flowered naked buckwheat
Eriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum

Canyon live oak
Quercus chrysolepis

Mountain sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana

[Named after the American plant collector George Richard Vasey, 1853-?]

Fremont's bush mallow
Malacothamnus fremontii

[Right: Close-up of stem]


Copyright © 2013 by Michael L. Charters.
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Comments and/or questions may be addressed to: mmlcharters[at]