Photographs by Michael Charters

This is the second of my Pacific Crest Trail photo galleries and the second of what I envision as a series of photo galleries documenting pictorially the flora of the PCT through the San Gabriel Mountains. This is a project that will proceed in fits and starts and will probably consume several years, necessitating as it will for me to return to areas more than once and at different times of the year, and hopefully will complement the fine work being done by RT Hawke and others on a much longer stretch of the PCT. I began my 12-mile hike near the locked gate on Little Rock Creek Road (5N04), one mile from Alder Saddle and about 5 miles from Three Points on the Angeles Crest Highway. The elevation profile for this segment of the trail is 5320' to 7124' and it is graded so gently that you hardly know you are going uphill. It appears from some things to be a little earlier in the season on this side, but from others to be a little later. However, it was nice to be passing through an essentially unburned landscape of many mature shrubs and pine trees, at least for about the first half of the distance. It was 40° when I left the trailhead at 8am, very windy and heavily overcast in the upper reaches, and about 49° at 5pm when I got back to the car. By the afternoon my hands were so cold I could hardly operate my camera. The sun made several valiant efforts during the morning to lighten the sky but gave up around noon. As often happens on the PCT, the other people you meet are through hikers and today I encountered twelve people coming from Mexico and heading for Canada. I didn't envy them. I had decided not to carry my new copy of the Jepson Manual which I received a few days ago after having foolishly placed my former copy on the spare tire of my CRV following my last hike up the road toward Chamisal Mesa, and losing it. My next outing will be the trail to Fish Canyon Falls with Dan Simpson, and then I will continue with the PCT from the same starting point as this one, but heading in the opposite direction toward Three Points. I do not want to mislead people in any way about the flora of the trails as shown here in these photo galleries, and I would be remiss in not pointing out that just because there is a picture of a particular species, that does not mean there was necessarily more than a single plant seen. This is regrettably often the case especially in a year such as this one. The symbol ^ next to the common name is for a taxon that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip. Thanks as always to Tom Chester, Dave Stith, Tommy Stoughton, Aaron Schusteff and RT Hawke for their helpful input with some id's. The photographs in this gallery were taken 5/1/13 and 5/5/13. The list of species for this segment of the PCT is here.

Splendid gilia
Saltugilia splendens ssp. splendens

Santolina pincushion
Chaenactis santolinoides

Interior goldenbush
Ericameria linearifolia

Mojave ceanothus
Ceanothus vestitus

Singleleaf pinyon pine
Pinus monophylla

Chaparral whitethorn
Ceanothus leucodermis

Coulter pine
Pinus coulteri

Common phacelia
Phacelia distans
Clustered blazing star
Mentzelia congesta

[With bee fly, possibly genus Geron]

Chaparral yucca, Our Lord's Candle
Hesperoyucca whipplei


Copyright © 2013 by Michael L. Charters.
The photographs contained on these web pages may not be reproduced without the express consent of the author.

Comments and/or questions may be addressed to: mmlcharters[at]