Charlton Flats - A Picnic with Swallowtails & the Lost Wolf Tree Nature Trail, July 30, 2017

After our hike to Cooper Canyon it was just early afternoon.  My husband and I drove to Charlton Flats to have a picnic and take a short hike along the PCT and the Silver Moccasin Trail.  As we walked along the trail we were enveloped in the delightful fragrance of Poodle Dog bush flowers.  This is a poisonous plant, but I personally think the smell is divine.  To my delight, the blooms were also covered in swallowtail butterflies!  I’d never seen so many in the same place before.  It was a nice opportunity to observe them and practice photographing them in flight as they danced upon the flowers.  

Another point of interest I’d wanted to see at Charlton Flats was the “Wolf Tree Nature Trail”, but I wasn’t exactly sure where to find it.  While I was busy obsessing over the swallowtails, I noticed my husband was admiring a very vintage, very damaged looking sign just a few yards away.  I walked over to see what he was looking at and he had found the sign at the beginning of what was once the Wolf Tree Nature Trail.  We walked along it for a short distance until we couldn’t go any further.  It must have been a very pretty little trail it its day, and it makes me sad to think of how much damage the fire caused.  I found an article written about the trail in 2007 that described it as being shaded by conifers.  It mentioned a 100 foot tall Coulter pine that was once called the “wolf tree” which was the dominant tree of the forest.  Not much is left now besides some old wood, the old tattered signs and a lot of Poodle Dog bush.  At any rate, it was a nice little side adventure before we headed on home.