WEST FORK, SAN GABRIEL RIVER MAY/JUNE 2011 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




The road along the West Fork of the San Gabriel River is in my opinion one of the prettiest places in our local mountains. It begins on SR-39 north of Azusa and about a mile north of the Rincon Ranger Station, and from there it is about 8 miles to the Cogswell Dam and Reservoir. Beyond this point there is access to Devil's Canyon and all the way to the Red Box Ranger Station. The road winds along with the river on one side and a series of seepy fern-covered rock cliffs on the other, and on a late spring day when the sun is shining brightly and there is a cool breeze blowing, it just doesn't get any better. This is also a popular fishing and picnicing destination, particularly on weekends, and because there are only occasional vehicles passing up to the Reservoir, it is an excellent biking road. One day I hiked and botanized the first 3-1/2 miles, then went back a few days later to bicycle that part and hike the remaining 4-1/2 miles to the reservoir.

I want to mention that I welcome suggestions and/or corrections about the plant identifications that I have displayed here. Sometimes working from local floras or being in the company of people who are more knowledgeable than I gives me greater confidence in the correctness of those id's that are given, but sometimes my confidence level is lower, so I appreciate it when others suggest a change. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native taxon. Thanks to Bob Allen for the butterfly ID's, to Hartmut Wisch for the dragonfly and spittlebug ID, and to Stephen McCabe for the Dudleya ID.


   
Slender mariposa lily
Calochortus clavatus var. gracilis
Liliaceae


 
Short-leaved cliff aster
Malacothrix saxatilis var. tenuifolia
Asteraceae


   
Chinese houses
Collinsia heterophylla var. austromontana
Plantaginaceae
 
Baby blue eyes
Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii
Boraginaceae
 
Martin's paintbrush
Castilleja applegatei var. martinii
Orobanchaceae


 
California chicory
Rafinesquia californica
Asteraceae
 
 



 
 
 
Smooth-leaf yerba santa
Eriodictyon trichocalyx var. trichocalyx
Boraginaceae
 
 



Mountain phacelia
Phacelia imbricata ssp. imbricata
Boraginaceae
 
 
 



 
Mugwort
Artemisia douglasiana
Asteraceae
   
Golden stars
Bloomeria crocea var. crocea
Themidaceae

     


 
 
Tower mustard
Turritis glabra
Brassicaceae

[Formerly Arabis glabra]
 


   
Parish's lupine
Lupinus latifolius var. parishii
Fabaceae


 
 
Pale swallowtail
Papilio eurymedon
Papilionidae
 
Prickly phlox
Linanthus californicus
Polemoniaceae

[Formerly Leptodactylon californicum]
 


 
 
 
Purple clarkia
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera
Onagraceae



 
Low canyon dudleya
Dudleya cymosa ssp. pumila
Crassulaceae