PACIFIC CREST TRAIL, SWARTHOUT CANYON ROAD
TO CAJON, SAN GABRIEL MTS
AUGUST 2013 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




Because of the fire between Lone Pine Canyon Road and the Pacific Crest Trail below Wrightwood, I decided to divert eastward to the beginning of the San Gabriels portion of the trail at Interstate 15 and then hike westward to the point I had previously reached. Although the fire did not in the end impinge on the trail itself, Lone Pine Canyon Road was closed, and there were mandatory evacuations ordered for some residential areas south of Wrightwood. An aggressive air and ground attack on the fire kept it from spreading and succeeded in putting it out in less than a week. In reading an online Wrightwood news thread, I was introduced to the work of their local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members, an organization I was not familiar with, and I applaud all those who volunteer for such activities, as well as the firefighters and aircraft pilots who battle these blazes. Driving up the I-15 for my last pass along this segment from Cajon to Swarthout Canyon Road (3N28), I saw a large plaume of smoke rising beyond some ridges southeast of Wrightwood. I knew this was a new fire, and I learned later that it had broken out near the Stockton Flats area above Lytle Creek as a result of a lightning strike, and was one of about twenty spot fires so caused during some wild weather centered around Wrightwood and the western San Bernardinos. This fire was named the Gobblers Fire although it was not really terribly close to Gobblers Knob, and like the Sharp Fire was fought in rugged terrain and knocked down over a number of days without coming near to the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail in this area rises from the interstate over some ridges which affords one with spectacular views of some very interesting topography extending from the Mormon Rocks on the other side of SR-138, and later down into Swarthout and Lone Pine Canyons. One of the fascinating things about this section of the trail is that it proceeds in part more or less paralleling the tracks of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad and the Union Pacific. Trains are constantly moving through this area either north or south and it is a great place to get train photos. Speaking of which, I'd like to put in a plug for my friend Wayne Armstrong and his wonderful train pictures which you can view here. In 1989 a 6-locomotive/69-car Southern Pacific freight train lost control and reached speeds of 110 mph while descending the Pass and derailed, killing two railroad men and two residents of houses into which the train crashed. There was also a major train accident here in 1994 when a freight train lost control and crashed into the back of a standing coal train. Fortunately no one was killed in that accident, which resulted in damages of some $4,000,000. The list of species for this segment of the PCT is here. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native species. The pictures in this gallery were taken 8/11/13, 8/16/13 and 8/22/13.


   
Erect golden-aster
Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. fastigiata
Asteraceae


 
Mexican elderberry
Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea
Adoxaceae




   
Scalebroom
Lepidospartum squamatum
Asteraceae


   
California-aster
Corethrogyne filaginifolia
Asteraceae



       
   
White sweetclover *
Melilotus albus
Fabaceae
   
    One-sided bluegrass
Poa secunda ssp. secunda
Poaceae


   
Prickly lettuce *
Lactuca serriola
Asteraceae
 
Watercress *
Nasturtium officinale
Brassicaceae



 
 
Broad-leaved cattail
Typha latifolia
Typhaceae
 
 
 
 
Wild tarragon
Artemisia dracunculus
Asteraceae
Fremont's cottonwood
Populus fremontii ssp. fremontii
Salicaceae
 
 


 
Whiteplume wirelettuce
Stephanomeria exigua ssp. coronaria
Asteraceae


 
Sacred datura
Datura wrightii
Solanaceae
 
 
Small-flowered nightshade
Solanum americanum
Solanaceae
 
 
Giant reed *
Arundo donax
Poaceae
 


CALFLORA.NET


Copyright © 2013 by Michael L. Charters.
The photographs contained on these web pages may not be reproduced without the express consent of the author.

Comments and/or questions may be addressed to: mmlcharters[at]gmail.com.