MT. WILSON TOLL ROAD, SAN GABRIEL MTS AUGUST 2009
PAGE ONE

Photographs by Michael Charters




Having just read in the Pasadena Star-News about the imminent re-opening of the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, I met Jane Strong and Hill Penfold for a lovely early morning stroll up the road. Hill and Jane turned around after a mile, and I continued on to Henniger Flats. There wasn't a lot in bloom in the canyon, nor did I expect there would be. This is mid-August after all on the dry side of the San Gabriels. But nevertheless there were some hangers on, and some others that are fall bloomers, and some species that just seem to bloom throughout most of the year. The Toll Road was damaged in the big storms of '05 when a massive landslide occurred, and it has been officially closed since then, although hikers quickly created a footpath over the slide area. That section has finally been fixed, but there are still half a dozen places farther up where the driveable road has been reduced to a two-foot wide track by slumping hillsides and four years of encroaching vegetation, and some considerable engineering work will be required before any vehicles are once again able to drive up that road. But a walk in the canyon at this time of year reveals a lovely albeit subtle palette of fall colors. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native species.



   
California dodder
Cuscuta californica var. californica
Convolvulaceae
 
Scalebroom
Lepidospartum squamatum
Asteraceae
 
Western poison oak
Toxicodendron diversilobum
Anacardiaceae


 
Longstem buckwheat
Eriogonum elongatum var. elongatum
Polygonaceae


 
Common deerweed
Lotus scoparius var. scoparius
Fabaceae
 
 
Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia
Rosaceae
 
 
Acton encelia
Encelia actoni
Asteraceae
 


Black sage
Salvia mellifera
Lamiaceae
 
 
Repaired section of Toll Road


   
Nevin's brickellbush
Brickellia nevinii
Asteraceae


 
 
 
Short-leaved cliff aster
Malacothrix saxatilis var. tenuifolia
Asteraceae



       
   

California brickellbush
Brickellia californica
Asteraceae

   
    Castor bean *
Ricinus communis
Euphorbiaceae


 
cf. Nymph of largus bug
Largus succinctus
Largidae

(On Encelia actoni)
 
Coastal whiptail
Aspidoscelis tigris ssp. stejnegeri
Teiidae

[Note regrown tail]


   
White nightshade
Solanum douglasii
Solanaceae
 
Tree tobacco *
Nicotiana glauca
Solanaceae
 
White sage
Salvia apiana
Lamiaceae


 
 
Narrow-leaved bedstraw
Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium
Rubiaceae
Hoary fuchsia
Epilobium canum ssp. canum
Onagraceae