12/17/14 9:30 am

12″ of new snow, the sun is breaking out and it is beautiful.

There is no chain control up to Big Pine at this time.  The road is closed past Big Pine but there still is plenty of area for snow play.  So if you are off today come have a GREAT day in the Mountains.

Always make sure you carry chains that fit your car and that you know how to install them. Only play in the snow on Public lands, (stop to see us at Mountain Hardware and  we can provide you with a map and info where the best conditions are currently). Please respect private property and do not play there.   You will also need an Adventure Pass $5.00 per day or $30.00 for a year we can supply that for you. Please remember to always pick up and take home any trash as this will make it nicer for the next visitor.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Mountain Hardware 760-249-3653 Mon – Sat 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm. We are located at 1390 Hwy #2 in Wrightwood on the north side of the highway and have a large parking area and restrooms

Mike

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12/17/14

10″ 0f NEW Snow Last Night

Looks like a it  is going to be a White Christmas.

There is very good conditions for snow play.  It should be good for the next week.

At this time there are chain control on all non 4×4 cars and truck.  So if you come up and do not have a 4×4 bring your chains.

Always make sure you carry chains that fit your car and that you know how to install them. Only play in the snow on Public lands, (stop to see us at Mountain Hardware and  we can provide you with a map and info where the best conditions are currently). Please respect private property and do not play there.   You will also need an Adventure Pass $5.00 per day or $30.00 for a year we can supply that for you. Please remember to always pick up and take home any trash as this will make it nicer for the next visitor.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Mountain Hardware 760-249-3653 Mon – Sat 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm. We are located at 1390 Hwy #2 in Wrightwood on the north side of the highway and have a large parking area and restrooms

Mike

 

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12/15/14 9am

The snow paly conditions are best we have seen this year.

So come on up.

Always make sure you carry chains that fit your car and that you know how to install them. Only play in the snow on Public lands, (stop to see us at Mountain Hardware and  we can provide you with a map and info where the best conditions are currently). Please respect private property and do not play there.   You will also need an Adventure Pass $5.00 per day or $30.00 for a year we can supply that for you. Please remember to always pick up and take home any trash as this will make it nicer for the next visitor.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Mountain Hardware 760-249-3653 Mon – Sat 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm. We are located at 1390 Hwy #2 in Wrightwood on the north side of the highway and have a large parking area and restrooms

Mike

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12/13/14 1pm

Just came back from the snow play areas and the conditions looked great the road is open with no controls.

photo

Always make sure you carry chains that fit your car and that you know how to install them. Only play in the snow on Public lands, (stop to see us at Mountain Hardware and  we can provide you with a map and info where the best conditions are currently). Please respect private property and do not play there.   You will also need an Adventure Pass $5.00 per day or $30.00 for a year we can supply that for you. Please remember to always pick up and take home any trash as this will make it nicer for the next visitor.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Mountain Hardware 760-249-3653 Mon – Sat 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm. We are located at 1390 Hwy #2 in Wrightwood on the north side of the highway and have a large parking area and restrooms

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12/13/14 7:30 am

YAHOO!!!!!!!!!

We have snow in the snow play areas 5-6 inches.  It is a clear sky day with lots of sunshine this morning.  I drove up to the area above Big Pines this morning and it looks GREAT.  At this time there is chain control  signed turned at Mtn High East but I am sure that will be lifted as the day warms.

The ski area is not opening today so this is a great day to come up as there will not be any skier traffic.

Always make sure you carry chains that fit your car and that you know how to install them. Only play in the snow on Public lands, (stop to see us at Mountain Hardware and  we can provide you with a map and info where the best conditions are currently). Please respect private property and do not play there.   You will also need an Adventure Pass $5.00 per day or $30.00 for a year we can supply that for you. Please remember to always pick up and take home any trash as this will make it nicer for the next visitor.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Mountain Hardware 760-249-3653 Mon – Sat 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm. We are located at 1390 Hwy #2 in Wrightwood on the north side of the highway and have a large parking area and restrooms

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12/12/14 12 Noon

I just came back from up at Big Pines.

Looks like about 5-6″ of snow in the areas for Snow play.

Chain Control signs are turned at the County Line

Mike

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12/12/14

The rain just turned to snow here in town at about 7:30 am this morning.

It is now snow heavy:

At this time our phones are not working

Mike

 

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Chaparral Yucca

Lt. Amiel Whipple

Lt. Amiel Whipple

More commonly known as “our Lord’s candle” or “chaparral yucca” the Hesperoyucca whipplei derives its scientific name from botanist, John Torrie, who named this in honor of Lt. Amiel Weeks Whipple who in 1853-56 had charge of the exploration from Fort Smith, Ark., to Los Angeles for a projected transcontinental railroad route along the 35th parallel.

Chaparral yucca at Devil's Punchbowl county park

Chaparral yucca at Devil’s Punchbowl

This shrub is quite common in Swarthout Valley in which Wrightwood is located. This yucca grows at elevations from near sea level to roughly 4500 feet but can occur up to 8400 feet.

This Agave Family (Agavaceae) shrub is simple with no evident trunk. The leaves are slender, stiff and gray-green. They are 1-2 ½ feet long and radiate from a central base with needle-like tips. The plant has a single flower stalk, which is covered with fragrant, creamy white flowers.

Blooming season is April to June but may flower as early as February and as late as July, generally earlier at low elevations than at high elevations In extremely dry years, chaparral yucca may not flower.

roast yucca, agave & nolina

Tasty roast yucca, agave & nolina

Traditionally in the early spring, the “heart” was removed with the aid of an oak or a juniper-shaft. It was then roasted in a pit for a lengthy period. While green and tender the flower stalk  was cut or broken off by hand. These stalks were cut into sections and roasted in fire or in ashes and coals. It is reputed to have a sweet taste. The flowers are edible and can be boiled and eaten.

Yucca fiber was used to make sandals, ropes and other items

Yucca fiber was used to make sandals, ropes and other items

Chaparral yucca was also an important fiber plant. The Serrano and Cahuilla used the fibers for sandals while the Chumash and the Gabrielino used it for fishing line. Whole or split yucca leaves were also utilized for rough tying of bundles of firewood, house frames, and for basketry. To retrieve and prepare the fibers, the leaves were immersed in water until the skin and the connecting round tissue rotted away. The leaves may also have been pounded to hasten the process. The fibers are then buried in mud to whiten them, washed and combed.

Chaparral yucca in Lone Pine Canyon

Chaparral yucca in Lone Pine Canyon

Some of the best blooms I have ever seen were in Lone Pine Canyon during a warm spring after a wet winter. There is nothing like it!

~

More about: Indians use of native plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pinyon Pine

Pinyon pine trees are the uneven pine trees that don’t quite look like pine trees or deciduous, leaved trees. They are native to the canyons and slopes  around and in the Wrightwood area.

pinon pine tree in Lone Pine Canyon

Old growth pinyon pine in Lone Pine Canyon

Singleleaf pinyon pine (pinus monophylla) is found in pinyon-juniper woodland, montane juniper woodlands, Jeffrey pine forests, sagebrush steppe, montane white fir forest, and subalpine woodland. In pure stands below 9,000 ft.  in the high Sierra Nevada, the Inyo and White Mountains, the Tehachapi Mountains, and the Peninsular and Transverse Ranges of southern and eastern California. Its range extends into Arizona, New Mexico and northern Baja California in the southwest and occurs in the dry mountain ranges of Nevada, Utah, and southeastern Idaho on the east.

Pine Family (Pinacaeae). Singleleaf pinyon is an evergreen tree reaching heights of up to 12 meters. When young, it forms a pyramidal or rounded silhouette against the sky, while mature pinyons display a more ungroomed, irregular branching appearance. The cylindrical, bluish-gray leaves are generally one per bundle and 1 to 2 in. in length. The female cones are wind-pollinated. The subglobose cones ripen in August of the second growing season, full of 1/2-inch long, wingless seeds. Pinyon trees produce cones every three to seven years. Trees usually do not start bearing cones before they are 35 years old and do not start producing good seed crops before 100 years.

Dried cones exposing red-brown pinon nuts

Dried cones exposing red-brown nuts

Uses: Traditionally different tribes in California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest U.S. have utilized this tree for fuel wood and the pine nuts for food. The Washoe have made pinyon supple branches into stirring sticks for mixing pine nut soup. Pinyon pitch is melted and applied by different tribes as an outer covering for baskets to make them watertight or used to waterproof and repair pottery vessels. The tree’s large, orange-red to chocolate-brown seeds have been an important food to Native Americans for millennia and are extremely important today. The cones are still gathered in the fall by tribes in California, the Great Basin and the Southwest roasted, parched, shelled, winnowed, ground into a meal, and made into nutritious pine nut soup, mush, and cakes. Another modern way to prepare the pine nuts, is to roast them in the oven in their shells, and then shelled and eaten as a snack. Since the trees produce good crops every several years, each family relies on a series of groves, rotating harvests at different groves — depending upon which grove is the most productive. Since trees can reach ages of more than 600 years, some of the tribal pinyon gathering sites have been visited for many generations. Tools and harvesting methods are purposefully designed to enhance or maintain future pinyon cone production. There are two major harvesting methods utilized today by different tribes. The first method is to use a hooked stick that brings down the flexible limbs of the tree and the green, immature cones are hand-twisted from the branches before they open and disperse their seeds. The hooked stick can also be used to snap cones off the limbs. Sometimes children climb the trunks of the trees and hand pick the cones, while others use ladders as a replacement for the hooked sticks. Harvested cones are placed in plastic buckets, a modern adaptation of the gathering basket. A second gathering method is to wait until the cones open, and then whip the trees with a pole, knocking the seeds out of the mature cones and collecting them from the ground. During this process, dead or dying branches are pruned back, a practice various tribes say is good for the trees.

Wildrose charcoal kilns in Death Valley National Park

Wildrose charcoal kilns in Death Valley National Park

Early Euro-American settlers of the Great Basin logged pinyon trees, for wood, fuel for heating, cooking, and to supply steam engines. Pinyon charcoals were used to smelt the silver ores that became Nevada’s number one industry in the 1860’s and 70’s. In the last three decades, public land agencies chained large tracts of pinyon trees and reseeded areas with non-native grasses, such as crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) to increase grasses for livestock. Other main uses of singleleaf pinyon include fence posts, Christmas trees, and edible seeds.

Chipmunks help to disperse pinyon seeds

Chipmunks not only use the pinyon nuts for food, but by over-collecting help to disperse the seeds

Many kinds of birds and small mammals feed on the seeds including white-footed pinyon mice, chipmunks, golden-mantled ground squirrels, wood rats, white-breasted nuthatches, Clark’s nutcrackers and chickadees. Black bears, deer, and porcupines feed on the seeds, bark, and foliage of the pinyon pine, while mountain sheep browse the foliage and twigs. The inner bark is a staple food of the mountain pine beetle, as well as the fungus causing pinyon blister rust. Even the pitch, dripping from pinecones is feasted upon by pitch midges, and is harvested for the nests of Dianthidium bees. Saw flies feed on either needles or pollen, while gall midges live in galls that occurs in the needle fascicle.

 

From USDA Plant Guide, PIMO — adapted by W. Feller

 

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San Gabriel National Monument

President Obama, who is visiting Southern California, was scheduled Friday to designate the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which will cover 346,000 acres in one of the nation’s most heavily visited forests. The mountains northeast of Los Angeles are a popular recreation area. More than 15 million people live within a 90-minute drive.

San Gabriel National Monument

Trail leading south from Inspiration Point

Map of San Gabriel National Monument

Map of San Gabriel National Monument

The peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains frame the Los Angeles skyline and offer hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain biking, motorized, and equestrian trails as well as campgrounds to the area’s diverse residents. In addition to providing drinking water, the San Gabriels’ rivers support rare populations of native fish, while the vegetation found in the monument supports native wildlife and insect species, including pollinators important to farmers. The area is also rich in cultural and scientific history. More than 600 archeologically and culturally significant sites are found within the new monument, such as the Aliso-Arrastre Special Interest Area, which features rock art and cupules that exemplify more than 8,000 years of Native American history. The new monument is also home to the Mt. Wilson Observatory, where Edwin Hubble discovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way and Albert Michelson provided the first modern measurement of the speed of light.

Source – WhiteHouse.GOV

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