For fear of sounding like a constant commentary on the weather, here’s the second “quick escape” (I guess you figured there’d be more) from this year’s really odd summer weather. After the mind-boggling heat of last weekend, Monday began overcast and much cooler – and then the dreaded clouds just didn’t want to burn off, and it was dull, grey and overcast all day long. It really weighed down on me, so I made another escape to the east, away from the coast. :-)
Since temperatures inland were naturally higher, I “somehow” ended up in the Laguna Mountains once again, where it was coolest and most pleasant. Monsoonal moisture had begun to rise into clouds mid-afternoon, casting some pleasant shade onto the landscape here and there. Those clouds didn’t become thunderstorms though, and dissipated in the late afternoon. Toni and I hiked from the Storm Canyon overlook again, south on the Pacific Crest Trail this time, to Fosters Point – it’s not really far, but closed a gap on this stretch of trail that I had not hiked before.
I had thought that I couldn’t possibly like Laguna Mountains even more than I already do, but I have not been there much in September, so there was plenty to see and appreciate (for the first time) at this time of the year. Where the trail descends into a little ravine, it was still dotted with colors left and right – the pale purple of some Fleabane (Erigeron divergens), bright red-orange of California fuchsia (Epilobium canum), glowing bright yellow of California goldenrod (Solidago velutina), deeper yellow of Slender sunflower (Helianthus gracilentus) here and there, silvery-white Cudweed (Pseudognaphalium beneolens) – and that’s just what I could identify immediately, and what grew right along the trail. It was not the time of day and good light to make flower photos, though.
The most relief I found in the views – while somewhat confined to the north and east, where the trail comes out of the ravine it’s still nice to get into the open, where only Manzanita and other hardy shrubs grow, somewhat stunted because they weather all the sun and wind here. Where everything was obscured by clouds and fog on Sunday, I had views to the Laguna Crest’s steepest drop at Garnet Peak and into the desert below, which appeared almost smooth in the distance.
Just a few impressions:
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