JOSEPHINE FIRE ROAD AND COLBY CANYON TRAIL TO JOSEPHINE SADDLE, SAN GABRIEL MTS MAY 2016 PAGE ONE




I originally planned to make this two photo galleries, but since these two routes to Josephine Saddle are so close together, and the flora is not all that dissimilar, I decided to combine them. It had been probably at least 15 or more years since I had last traversed the ridge between Clear Creek and Colby Canyon, and at that time I wasn't even taking any photos of plants. So I was curious when I heard about the hike arranged by the San Gabriels chapter of CNPS to see what kind of flora would be presented in this area. The hike was to be led by Jane Tirrell, an experienced and knowledgeable hike leader, so I felt I was in good hands. The Josephine Fire Road begins near the junction of the Angeles Crest Highway and the Angeles Forest Highway and winds its way up about 1500' to an unnamed junction where you can go left toward Josephine Peak or right toward Josephine Saddle and Strawberry Peak. Actually some maps show this saddle as Josephine saddle and the one at the top of the Colby Canyon Trail as Strawberry Saddle. I don't know which one of these two is correct. We proceeded right to Josephine/Strawberry Saddle, a total distance from the bottom of about 2.8 miles. This is the point where the Colby Canyon Trail drops back down about 2.2 miles to the Angeles Crest Highway one mile from Clear Creek. The second part of my hiking adventure in this part of the San Gabriels took place a few days later, and although I haven't yet made it to either Strawberry Peak or Josephine Peak, still this second hike was spectacular. The Angeles Crest Highway was covered with fog coming up from below all the way to Clear Creek pretty much all day, but beyond Clear Creek there was sunshine. I had some difficulty finding the trailhead because there is no sign there, but I eventually found it about 1/2 mile past the road to Switzer's Camp, at a parking area on the north side of the highway. The day was warm and the trail is mostly out in the open, but there was a cool breeze that helped. This area was heavily burned by the Station Fire in 2009 but the trail, although rocky and steep in sections, is in surprisingly good condition for the most part. A few days later I did both trails as a loop with my daughter and her housemate. It's great becoming reacquainted with an area that I have long overlooked. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native taxon. Thanks to Hartmut Wisch and Bob Allen for bug id's.


 
 
Baby blue eyes
Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii
Boraginaceae
 
 



 
Bush poppy
Dendromecon rigida
Papaveraceae


 
 
 
California blackberry
Rubus ursinus
Rosaceae
 
 



   
Whorl-leaf penstemon
Keckiella ternata var. ternata
Plantaginaceae
 
Bolander's woodland star
Lithophragma bolanderi
Saxifragaceae



   
Yellow-throated phacelia
Phacelia brachyloba
Boraginaceae


 

California-aster
Corethrogyne filaginifolia
Asteraceae



 
Wild tarragon
Artemisia dracunculus
Asteraceae
 
 
 
Big-cone douglas fir
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa
Pinaceae


 
White snapdragon, Coulter's snapdragon
Antirrhinum coulterianum
Plantaginaceae

[Named for Irish botanist Dr. Thomas Coulter, 1793-1843]
 



   
California everlasting
Pseudognaphalium californicum
Asteraceae


 
Bird's-nest fern
Pellaea mucronata var. mucronata
Pteridaceae



 
 
 
Spearleaf mountain dandelion
Agoseris retrorsa
Asteraceae
 
 



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