MT. WILSON TRAIL FROM SUMMIT TO SIERRA MADRE
PAGE ONE

Photographs by Michael Charters




It's not easy to go downhill 7-1/2 miles and 5000' from Mt. Wilson to Sierra Madre, and when I did this a few weeks ago my calves were sore for days. Last month we had a very consistent weather pattern of 'May gray,' and the view from the summit to the south was not the one many people drive up there to see, but rather an endless expanse of white clouds covering the Los Angeles basin. The hiker can begin this trek in the clear sunny skies of Mt. Wilson at an elevation of almost 5700' but before long plunge down through the burn area caused by the Wilson Fire of last fall and into the marine layer and say goodbye to the sun. Manzanita Ridge, Orchard Camp and First Water divide the hike into four approximate quarters, and the hiker is also free to continue along the Mt. Wilson Toll Road to Eaton Canyon in Altadena or to take the Winter Creek trail to Chantry Flat. Tom Chester and I have been working to finish a flora for the Mt. Wilson Trail and based on the hike that Tom did and his record of the vouchers from the trail, and the many hikes that I have done, we are nearing a flora that will be about as complete as any flora can be. This gallery is composed of photos taken on my last dozen or so hikes with a few photos from earlier hikes and incorporates such knowledge as I have painfully acquired based on years of hiking this trail and making and correcting numerous misidentifications, and also on the help of others particularly Tom who has graciously and without complaining studied many plant samples which I have sent to him. Although this is a fairly long gallery with 133 taxa included, it represents only about 40% of the flora that has been seen there. It is my intention to continue making regular visits to all sections of the trail throughout the rest of the year, and perhaps in coming years, and with Tom's help to identify any further species that make their presence known. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native taxon.


     
Elegant alumroot
Heuchera elegans
Saxifragaceae

[Named for German professor of medicine and botanist Johann Heinrich von Heucher, 1677-1747]


 
 
Arching rock-cress
Boechera arcuata
Brassicaceae

[Named for Danish botanist Tyge Wittrock Böcher, 1909-1983]
 
 



 
Ripgut brome *
Bromus diandrus
Poaceae


 
Bigberry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca
Ericaceae
 
 



   
California bedstraw
Galium californicum ssp. flaccidum
Rubiaceae



 
 
 
Mexican pink
Silene laciniata ssp. laciniata
Caryophyllaceae
 
 



 
Canyon sweet pea
Lathyrus vestitus var. vestitus
Fabaceae


   
Big-cone douglas fir
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa
Pinaceae

[Often incorrectly referred to as big-cone spruce]


 
Yarrow
Achillea millefolium
Asteraceae



 
 
 
Mountain phacelia
Phacelia imbricata
Boraginaceae
 
 



 
Coffeeberry
Frangula californica ssp. californica
Rhamnaceae
  Five-finger fern
Adiantum aleuticum
Pteridaceae


   
Birch-leaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides
Rosaceae


 
Plummer's mariposa lily
Calochortus plummerae
Liliaceae


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