There is no better way to kick off summer vacation than going on a long hike.
And yelling summer vacation.
Lisa planned for us to hike 10.5 miles, starting at South Ridge trail then looping around via Devils Slide to Ernie Maxwell trail. The total loop ended up being about 12 miles because the parking area at the end of Ernie Maxwell is over a mile away from the parking area at South Ridge, straight up. I don't think we sweat at all until we were hiking back to the car at the end of the trip. I think the best plan would be to park at the end of Ernie Maxwell and then hike to the South Ridge trail head from there, getting that part out of the way initially when it is cooler, but you live and you learn.
There was an elderly couple staying at Taquitz Peak who invited us in to sign the guestbook. Even though from the looks of this picture he had something more on his mind.
It is the only lookout tower in the area that is a 'hike in only'. They said it isn't as quiet as you would think. You can still hear cars, and people talking and laughing below, but the stars are incredible.
I am not used to seeing snowplant in Southern California, because I do not usually hike at elevation.
It just reminds me of hiking in Tahoe. It is a mycoparasite, a parasite that lives off of fungus. It is an interesting relationship as the snowplant lives off of the fungus which lives off of the tree. The tree depends on the fungus for water and minerals, the fungus depends on the tree for sugars made during photosynthesis. The snowplant takes advantage of their mutualistic relationship.