JULY 2013
Photographs by Michael Charters

On this occasion I hiked with Tom Chester, Adrienne Ballwey and Walt Fidler on the 5.1 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Blue Ridge Summit to Guffy Camp. We had arranged a car shuttle leaving one car at Guffy Camp so we only had to hike in one direction. The trail begins at 7386' at the parking area near Inspiration Point and skirts the property of the Mountain High Ski Resort with its ski lifts, passing two small reservoirs and the Blue Ridge Campground, and reaching a high point of about 8500' before descending gently to Guffy Camp. At the end of the day we took a short downhill side trail to Guffy Spring which turned out to be a fantastic location the high point of which was an absolutely incredible display of the rare in the San Gabriels taxon Delphinium glaucum in prime blooming condition. My photo galleries are probably going to be considerably shorter and less photogenic until next spring both because most species have been displayed frequently enough and because there are fewer blooming species at this time of the year, but you may refer to the master list of species by segment of the PCT which will be maintained and may be found here. Most of my hikes on the PCT for a while are going to be primarily of an exploratory nature in preparation for doing them again next year earlier in the season. An asterisk indicates a non-native species. Incidentally, Guffy Camp was named for an early prospector named Samuel Scott Guffy who in the 1870s built a homestead near Wright's Lake that he later sold to Sumner Banks Wright, the "Father of Wrightwood."

Thorny skeleton-plant
Pleiacanthus spinosus

[This taxon was formerly called Stephanomeria spinosa and the genus name means 'many-thorned.']

Sapphire woolstar
Eriastrum sapphirinum

Prickly-nut cryptantha
Cryptantha muricata var. denticulata

Leafy daisy, Fleabane aster
Erigeron foliosus var. foliosus

California dodder
Cuscuta californica var. californica
    Spineless horsebrush, Gray horsebrush
Tetradymia canescens
[The derivation of the name horsebrush is obscure because the plant has almost no forage value for horses.]

Wright's buckwheat
Eriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum

California wild buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium
Whiteplume wirelettuce
Stephanomeria exigua var. coronaria

Mountain snowberry
Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii
Volcanic gilia
Gilia ochroleuca ssp. bizonata

Summer lupine
Lupinus formosus var. formosus
[One of the main puzzles along this section of the PCT was the lupines. We were pretty sure on the identification of the L. elatus, but we kept seeing and wondering about another one that had both silvery and more greenish leaves, both white and blue/purple flowers, and a general appearance that was more sprawling rather than vase-like. We were thinking L. andersonii at first but none of the floras give the San Gabriels except for the West Transverse Range as its habitat. On a return visit, Tom measured some flowers and the taxon L. formosus popped up. Apparently these two taxa along with L. hyacinthinus are very difficult to distinguish, and there are a number of duplicate vouchers identified to different species. Even at a genetic level they are very close, which indicates perhaps a recent divergence. Apparently also the higher elevation formosus is somewhat different from those at lower elevations. In any case, we are with some confidence calling these plants L. formosus, subject to further study.]


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