Plants in bloom:
Blooms were essentially found only at the lower elevations, and were nearly absent at higher elevations. In bloom at the trailhead were: pink manzanita, snowplant, California lilac, yellow monkeyflower, golden yarrow, a short penstemon, short popcorn flower, wallflower, a small purple 5 petal bloom, and a tiny yellow flower on a spike with acacia leaves. Just above the trailhead, blooming flowers essentially were not to be found. Descending on the Devil's Slide Trail found buds appearing on penstemon at 8050', then paintbrush, a few wallflowers, white low ceanothus, a 6' shrub-tree with leaves similar to geraniums that had two bloom variations: one with ~7 small 5-petal pink flowers at the end of the stems, and one with droopy clusters of ~15 darker pink flowers.
Weather: Sunny, pleasant, hazy, highs in 60s. Views were almost nonexistent due to haze. Toro Peak could be seen on the ascent, but it quickly disappeared into the haze, as did Palomar Mountain.
Bugs: Mosquitos were biting at the trailhead, but quickly were left behind. A few black flies on the way up, again stopping quickly at higher elevation. On the way down, black flies first appeared at 7100', and were not numerous.
Number of ticks: Zero.
Number of rattlesnakes: 1, just after the trailhead.
Other pests: None.
The trip to Tahquitz Peak from South Ridge Trailhead is claimed by Robinson (3rd ed., 1979) to be 2.5 miles, but it is definitely closer to 4.0 miles. The trails are in excellent shape except for a bit on the South Ridge Trail just below the peak, where the low ceanothus is beginning to close in on the trail.
My altimeter was off by ~300' on average on this hike, so the altitudes below are adjusted by that amount from the ones I recorded.
It is interesting to note how much hiking times can differ between people at high altitudes. Tom and Ed are definitely hampered by altitude, and were moving slowly. John was seemingly unaffected by the altitude, and after politely staying with Tom and Ed until about 12:30 pm, went on ahead and got to the peak at 1:30 pm, taking only 1 hour to do what it took Tom 2.5 hours to do! We all were able to stay in contact via ham radio.
|Recording number||Mileage||Time arrived||Time left||Altitude||Comments|
|0||0.00||11:25||6550||South Ridge Trailhead|
|2||1.90||12:58||7650||Robinson's halfway level stretch|
|7||3.25||14:37||8500||Left Ed to make it to the top to eat|
|8||3.60||15:02||8800||Trail Jct. Went right to Peak|
|9||3.67||15:05||8850||Tahquitz Peak Lookout Tower|
|11||3.90||16:09||8850||Trail Jct. Went right to Chinquapin Flat junction|
|12||4.25||16:18||8700||Trail Jct. Went left to Saddle Junction|
|13||5.00||16:32||8400||First flower. Wallflower|
|14||5.25||16:42||8350||Slight diversion around dead big tree on trail. No other flowers yet|
|15||5.55||16:49||8200||Saddle Junction. Went left to Humber Park|
|16||6.75||17:21||17:46||7450||Still very few flowers so far|
|17||7.50||17:38||6900||Still very few flowers so far|
|18||7.75||17:52||6700||The Throne (rock formation just up from switchback).|
|19||7.90||17:59||6600||Devil's Slide Trailhead|
Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 23 June 1999.