Category Archives: weather

Running Between the Clouds

San Gabriel Peak, Mt. Disappointment and clouds from the Strawberry Peak Trail.

Unlike most of the rainy season, March rainfall has generally been above average in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Last Saturday I’d enjoyed a run in Pt. Mugu State Park following a few days of wet weather, and today my outing would be in the wake of the strongest storm to affect the  area since January.

I was in the San Gabriel Mountains, and doing a get-your-hear-rate-up combo run I did last year — ascending San Gabriel Peak and Strawberry Peak from Red Box. The duo are the two highest peaks in the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains and have been popular for many years.

The storm had been a warm one, with high snow levels, and I was surprised to find the morning temperature at Red Box in the mid-30s. The surface low and trough associated with the storm were still along the West Coast and the circulation was creating a strong southwesterly flow. This was pushing mostly benign mid-level clouds into the valleys and mountains. More picturesque than threatening, the clouds imparted a high mountain flavor to the surroundings.

Last year I’d done San Gabriel Peak first, so today I started with Strawberry. It’s the more difficult of the two peaks. The route to its summit is about a mile longer; it has a bit more elevation gain; and it includes a stretch on rough, steep, unmaintained trail. Of course, that’s part of its appeal.

The clouds were ever changing. While Strawberry Peak escaped most of the clouds, San Gabriel Peak was often obscured.

Here are a few photos taken along the way.

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Old Boney Loop Through Serrano Valley

Boney Mountain, Pt. Mugu State Park

Spectacular morning on Danielson Road in Pt. Mugu State Park following several days of wet weather.
Click the arrow to advance to the next image.
Crags of Boney Mountain's mountaineers' route from the Old Boney Trail.
Silver lupine along Danielson Road.
New grass and a muddy trail in Serrano Valley.
There was a little water in the creek in Serrano Canyon on March 17. (This was before the second bout of wet weather that began on March 20.)
Milkmaids along the Serrano Canyon Trail. Wet weather in early January, followed by a false Spring, and then cold weather has the wildflowers thoroughly confused.
The Hidden Pond Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park. Boney Mountain's western escarpment is in the background.
The pond (which is dry) is in the middle of the photo.
There must of been a hard freeze in Big Sycamore Canyon this year. Laurel sumac throughout the canyon had been "burned" by frost damage. It will crown-sprout and replace its foliage.
Sycamores and Spring growth along the Upper Sycamore Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park.

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Poison Oak Along the Backbone Trail

Poison Oak Along the Backbone Trail

Even though rainfall in the Los Angeles area is way below average this rain season, some plants along our local trails — such as this poison oak — are flourishing.

Flowering poison oak along the Backbone Trail.
Flowering poison oak. Click for larger image.

The growth of plants is dependent on a mind-boggling mix of interrelated factors. Maybe it was the rain in January in combination with the unseasonably warm weather in January and February. Or maybe there was some carryover in vitality from last year’s wet rain season. Or maybe it was something else. Whatever the case, poison oak in the Santa Monica Mountains seems to be doing very well this year!

The title photo is of poison oak along the Rogers Road segment of the Backbone Trail. It was taken March 10, 2018. Watch for overhanging branches!

Some related posts: Sweet Smell of Poison Oak, Find the Poison Oak, Large Poison Oak Leaves

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