Link to an excellent website for the park
Paul sent out an ADH email with the title Hiking at the Devil's Punchbowl. How could we refuse? We had never heard of this Los Angeles County Park gem, which is surprising considering I've birded all around it, we've hiked the PCT within a couple miles, and it is a PCT alternate bypass around the yellow-legged frog closure. During our PCT hike we chose to walk the Highway 2 bypass, rather than the Devil's Punchbowl alternate based purely on total miles and elevation gain.
|The Devil's Punchbowl|
|Yes, it is so warm I am in a t-shirt. Photo courtesy BJ Holden.|
So, little did we know what we were missing. In a nutshell, this park was just fun. The geology is amazing, the plant diversity encompasses everything from the desert to Bigcone Douglas Fir. Birding was a bit slow, but I guess you can't have everything. The visitor center and rangers who were staffing it were also a hit with our group. We enjoyed the snakes, the rocks, the stories and explanations, and most of all the honey pot ants.
|Big Berry Manzanita. Photo courtesy BJ Holden.|
|The trail out to the Devil's chair.|
|Looking down from the chair.|
|The white area in the center is the Devil's chair.|
|Bob is sitting in what really should be the Devi's chair.|
|Velvet ant. One of visitor center's animals to be on the lookout for.|
|BJ, Libby, and Bob McGown|
|The view from BJ and Libby's lunch spot.|
|Up close look at some of the geology.|
This explanation is from BJ "The ranger, David Numer, has been there for 44 years. He gave me the whole story on the honey ants. They forage for food and store it in the form of honey in specialized ants who swell up like little balloons and act as storage tanks. David started that ant farm from a swarming queen about 6 years ago. They are nocturnal. They come out at night and have the run of the visitor center and go back in their ant farm home in the morning. Amazing."
|Ranger David and the honey ants. Photo courtesy BJ Holden.|