The Flora of the PCT
A1 Mexican Border to Highway 94
Fig. 1. Left: Chamise chaparral surrounding the U.S. (left side) / Mexico (right side) border. The fences are on U.S. soil, with the dirt road area in-between them patrolled by Border Patrol vehicles. Right: The PCT Monument at the southern terminus.
Click on the pictures for larger versions.
The larger version of the PCT Monument picture shows the gear of a hiker who had just finished the entire PCT in 2014, heading north from Agua Dulce in June, arriving at Canada in October, and then hiking south from Agua Dulce, ending here on 3 November 2014.
Segment Start Segment End Segment Length Elevation (feet) Min Max Range Mexican Border, 2900 feet Highway 94, 2480 feet 2.3 miles 2480 2900 420 This section covers mile 0.0 to mile 2.3 from the Mexican Border (see Accuracy of Reported Trail Mileages).
The one-way hike from south to north has a total elevation gain of just 100 feet; see the profile below.
A round-trip hike of this section is 4.6 miles total, with an elevation gain and loss of 600 feet.
The Plant Checklists
This section of the trail is in the Southern Foothills Plant Community, as defined by the San Diego County Plant Atlas. The plant community here is almost entirely chaparral.
The trail starts in a sea of California Buckwheat, the first plant of the trail. It then tracks between the dirt road and private property before edging up into the chaparral again. A spectacular magenta pea called The Pride of California, aka Campo Pea, is found only along the first 30 miles of the trail here in southern California. The trail then drops down to the road again, which you actually walk on for a while past houses, many which have the showy locust tree covered in white blossoms. The trail then leaves all the development and heads west through the chaparral.
See The Flora of the Pacific Crest Trail: Overview for an Introduction to these plant checklists, and A. Southern Peninsular mountain ranges, Hauser Mountain, Laguna Mountains and the San Felipe Hills for an Introduction to this section.
Fig. 2. Left: Trail Map for the PCT Section A1 from the Mexican Border to Highway 94, from USDA Forest Service Interactive Map. Right: Elevation profile from the Mexican Border to Highway 94, from south to north. Click on the pictures for larger versions.
The entire section was surveyed on 4/27/2013 by RT and Shaun Hawke. 100 species were observed, at peak bloom on the trail. The entire section was surveyed again on 11/3/2014 by Tom Chester, Keir Morse, James Dillane and Jim Roberts. 125 species were observed, of which 71 were also observed on 4/27/2013, and 54 species were new species for the list. 29 species observed on 4/27/2013 were not seen on 11/3/2014, all of which were annuals or perennials that are not usually visible late in the year.
The Plant Checklists
There are four different versions of the Plant Checklists, which differ depending on:
- whether only species observed in the immediate vicinity of the trail are included, or whether species are also included from the larger area surrounding the trail, some of which might be found on the trail in future surveys;
- whether the list is presented in trail order, or in plant family order; and
- whether thumbnail photographs are included with the list or instead, links are provided to Calphotos pix and the Jepson Manual eflora.
The lists are:
- Illustrated Family Order List from Calflora, with two thumbnail pictures for every species found on the trail (154 taxa). Note the checkbox at right that allows a sort of the list in family order instead of scientific name order, or a sort by bloom start month. Check Show photo service links and then click on Display to get links to all Calphotos et al pictures.
- Species Observed in Order Along the Trail, from Mexican Border to Highway 94, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (154 taxa)
- Species Seen on or near the Trail in a Family Order List, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (not yet available; these species are included in the next checklist).
- Species Seen on or near the Trail, along with species vouchered from this general area, in a Family Order List, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (273 taxa)
Separate condensed print versions of just the checklist names are available for all except for the Calflora thumbnail picture version, as a link on each of those pages.
The vouchered species were obtained from a search of the Consortium of California Herbaria on 10 April 2013, for georeferenced vouchers with locations between 32.58 and 32.61° N. latitude and -116.48 to -116.46° E. longitude. The search yielded 419 vouchers of 211 taxa.
Copyright © 2014 by RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke, Tom Chester, Keir Morse, James Dillane, and Jim Roberts
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 4 December 2014.