PCT: Inspiration Point from Lightning Ridge, Grassy Hollow to Jackson Flat Campground + Vincent Gap, Wrightwood, CA, (500 ft +/-), 6+ miles RT, July 9, 2017

We started our hike today 2 miles west of Big Pines at Inspiration Point.  This hike can be made shorter by parking at the Grassy Hollow Visitors’ center, but we wanted the extra mileage so we parked at Inspiration Point and picked up the PCT trailhead located just behind the restrooms and up to the left.  Our destination was Jackson Flat Campground with an elevation gain of 500 (+/-) ft.  The walk along the PCT from Lightning Ridge immediately offered stunning views of Mount Baldy and Mount Baden Powell.  You can also see the Mojave on a clear day.  When you reach Grassy Hollow you can take a photo of the sign for the Pacific Crest Trail that shows arrows pointing to Mexico 373 miles south and to Canada 2,277 miles north.  There are switchbacks and and lot of up and downs so it’s not a steady climb the entire way.  I found this trail to be moderate.  Definitely not difficult and you also get a nice trek through the forest in the shade for part of it.  We reached the Jackson Flat Campground fairly quickly which is just up the hill and to the left of the first sign pointing to Jackson Lake.  We decided to continue along the PCT for another few miles almost to Vincent Gap.  You can also add another 2+ miles to this hike if you veer off the PCT and take the trail by the next sign pointing to Jackson Lake at the switchback.  We plan to do that next time.  On our way back we stopped at the Jackson Flat Campground to sit for a moment and enjoy the peace and quiet before continuing on.  When we started our hike in the morning it was cool and cloudy.  But by the time we started walking back, the sun was coming out and I started to see a lot of butterflies.  At the campground a pale swallowtail landed right in front of me on a pine tree. It held still for a while so I was excited to be able to get some nice shots.  There were many swallowtails in this area along the trail.  Lots of butterfly plants too including California Buckwheat and other wildflowers.  I also saw a good number of Painted Ladies flying up and down the slope just before reaching Grassy Hollow Visitors’ Center.  I’d say our hike today was about 6+ miles give or take.  I saw many butterflies on the way back between the Jackson Flat Campground back to Inspiration Point.  Definitely some good butterfly habitat in this area and a very pleasant hike.

Here is a list of some of my sightings:  

Gray Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak - still need to ID
Painted Lady - Was not able to get a clear shot but pretty sure on the ID. 
Marine Blue
Acmon or Lupine Blue - Still need to ID
Pale Swallowtail