The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
So many of you have asked how my "Camelot" faired in the recent San Jacinto Mountain fires. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Our cabin retreat is alive and well. Many were not as fortunate as we were. Several homes in Poppet Flats were destroyed as were almost 60,000 acres of our beloved mountain landscape.
This past Labor Day my partner, Rick, and I hiked the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. This easy, scenic, 2.6 mile hike begins at 6100 ft. and crosses streams along the way. It descends 600 feet, however we decided to start it at it's low point and hike uphill. I'm sure many of you will be able to relate to the term "progressive lenses." This is just a fancy word for bifocals! I found it much easier to go up hill where the path ahead was more in my distance prescription! It is a good walk for beginning botanists; many different species of trees can be found along the way. This trail goes into the San Jacinto Wilderness area.
You might notice a street name of Cassler just to the left of the lower green bubble. That's the street our cabin is on. It's a short walk to the trail head from there. I think the hardest part of the hike was getting to the trail head. The streets are fairly steep in our "neck of the woods!" But once there, the scenery is breathtaking. The picture at the top of this post was taken about half way into the hike with the panorama feature of my iPhone. That is one amazing little camera! (The lower right corner of the map is approximately where the Mountain Fire burned. Too close for comfort!)
During the hike I came across one beautiful photo opportunity after another. These are just a few of the many I took. Double click to see them full size:
This pic was taken shortly after we started the hike. It gives you a fairly good idea of the ease of this hike. With the exception of the gradual uphill climb, it is definitely the easiest hike I've done. It was a comfortable 2.5 hour hike to the trail's end and another 45 minutes to walk back to the cabin. The trail is very clearly marked and there were only a few times where trees or large boulders obstructed the path. For the most part, the trail is very well maintained.
Here's an example of a fallen tree. The Department of Forestry was on the scene shortly after the tree fell to carve a path for hikers. I did the hike a few months back and one of the thinks that surprised me was the amount of fallen trees along the way. As we hiked all I could think of was how much fire wood there was if I could only figure out a way to get it back to the cabin!
Of course the term "fire wood" took on a whole new meaning with the Mountain Fire. The Ernie Maxwell Trail is literally blocks away from our cabin, and this trail was worked by the fire teams to prepare it as a fire break point. The stumps you see in this picture belonged to Manzanita bushes. Although beautiful, these bushes have a high oil content and literally explode when ignited spraying burning embers in all directions.
The coloring of these plants however is beautiful. They have Cajun Craze colored bark with Old Olive foliage. Looking at one of the stumps you can also see So Saffron and Very Vanilla. OMG, I'm quoting Stampin' Up! colors! I need to get out more! But I will say nature has a way of inspiring me. It's no wonder my favorite stamp set is Lovely As A Tree. Here are a few more of my favorite pics:
From left to right Row 1: