What a beautiful mountain. There are so many blooming wildflowers this time of year. We did this hike last year in June and the weather was very hot. This time the weather was still warm, but definitely not as bad. Again, just as last year, we saw very few people other then the PCT thru hikers passing by on their way to the Sierras. We put in quite a lot of mileage and the day was made even longer by my stopping to take photos every few minutes. The best hikes are always the ones where I take my time and don’t feel like I’m in a rush against the clock or in a big hurry to reach the summit. Now that we’ve been hiking for a few years and have hiked many of these mountains, I don’t feel such an urgency to summit and I’m taking more time to stop and really appreciate and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings. Even though Pacifico Mountain was hit hard in the 2009 Station Fire and there’s still a lot of visible damage along the route, it’s a very pretty hike. The area is incredibly beautiful with great vistas and it is full of flowers and wildlife. In fact, we can in very close proximity to a rattlesnake towards the end of the hike and only about a half a mile away from the trailhead. We didn’t see the snake, but we did hear the warning rattle. She must have been alongside the trail hidden where we couldn’t see her. It’s amazing how they can disguise themselves. As we climbed up the mountain, the trail changed from charred trees to beautiful Jeffery Pines. We had lunch at the campground on top of the summit. It would be so nice to camp here sometime. There were a good number of ravens circling and I saw several species of butterflies including painted ladies, swallowtails and duskywings. We spent good amount of time at the top before leaving. There was no one there but us. I scouted around the big boulders to see if I could find the official USGS marker, but I still couldn’t locate it. I’ll check again next time we’re here. It was a really nice day.Read More
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.Read More
This was an exciting weekend for me. I experienced for the first time the natural butterfly habit that exists right here in Angeles National Forest. It was incredible if not a little overwhelming. Around 8 am we arrived at the trailhead and began our hike. The weather was already heating up due to the current heatwave, and as we began our ascent up the slope we started to see all the activity. Along the trail was an abundance of California Buckwheat which is both a host and nectar plant for many different species. It was covered in different butterflies; Bernardino Blues, Hairstreaks and Chalcedon Checkerspot to name a few. It was breathtaking seeing so many different butterflies all together in their natural habitat. After I stopped “ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing” I did my best to get some images. Photographing butterflies can be a real challenge unless they’re still warming up or they’re preoccupied sipping nectar. I was so enamored “chasing butterflies” I hardly noticed how hot it was getting in the beating sun on the slope. I could have stayed up there for hours observing and looking for different species. It was the most amazing and educational day!Read More