Photographs by Michael Charters

Jim Adams and I hiked down into Cooper Canyon to the junction of the Burkhart Trail and the Rattlesnake Trail, which is the section of the PCT that continues east to Eagles Roost on the Angeles Crest Highway. This junction is about two miles north of Buckhorn Campground. From Three Points all the way to Mt. Baden-Powell the Pacific Crest Trail is also the Silver Moccasin Trail which begins at JPL in Pasadena, and is a trail the Boy Scouts do ending at the stone marker in honor of Lord Baden-Powell. I did the Cooper Canyon section of the trail one summer about 15 or so years ago when I hiked the entire Silver Moccasin Trail but have not been on it since then. Cooper Canyon is a lovely canyon which Jim had never been in before, so he was especially delighted to get to know it. The trail drops from 7018' at Cloudburst Summit to around 5700' down in the canyon and is one of those hikes where you have to go back uphill when you are tired and the day has gotten hotter. On the whole this was an area of less diversity than we have seen before. The weather had warmed considerably since earlier in the week, and it was about 70° when we began and about 80° when we finished (75° and 85° the second time I did it). It would appear that the majority of the PCT hikers that started at the Mexican border have passed through this area because we only saw a few today. It has been fun encountering them along the trail. As I usually do, I went back a few days later to do follow-up work and investigate some off-trail places. I have been including more pictures of the vegetative parts of plants than has been my custom heretofore, and this is both for my own benefit in learning what things are before the bloom stage and for others to so recognize them. It occurs to me that it isn't that often that someone's suggestion changes the course of a person's life, but that is what happened when Jane Tirrell recommended that I hike from Mill Creek Summit to Pacifico Mountain, and her suggestion has unknowingly set me on a path that I will probably be following for several years. So Jane, thank you. I also want to acknowledge the work done by Dick Swinney and Andy Sanders in their tremendous Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains which has been of great help to me. The photographs displayed here were taken May 31 and June 5. If you want to see other galleries of this area, they are here and here. The photographs in this gallery were taken on 5/31/13 and 6/5/13.

San Gabriel linanthus
Linanthus concinnus

[This is a San Gabriel endemic which is apparently more widespread in these mountains than I had realized, stretching from Pacifico Mountain to Mt. Hillyer, Little Rock Creek, Mt. Baldy, Icehouse Canyon, Mt. Waterman, Kratka Ridge, Mt. Williamson, Dawson Saddle, Wrightwood and Lyttle Creek. The Jepson Manual gives 1700-2800 m. as its elevational range. It prefers dry, rocky habitats and blooms from May to June.]

Mule's ears
Wyethia ovata

Oak mistletoe
Phoradendron serotinum ssp. tomentosum
Mountain sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana

Western wallflower
Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum
Davidson's lotus
Acmispon nevadensis var. davidsonii

Wright's buckwheat
Eriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum
Golden yarrow
Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum
Common muilla
Muilla maritima

Snow plant
Sarcodes sanguinea

Silky lupine
Lupinus elatus

Elymus elymoides


Mojave linanthus
Leptosiphon breviculus


Jeffrey pine
Pinus jeffreyi

Smooth scouring rush
Equisetum laevigatum


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