When we visited the summit of Mt. Carmel (AKA Boulder Mtn.) two years ago, it seemed that the place had been forgotten and that all traces of the trail were destined to disappear into the brush. It hasn’t happened. Today, the climb from Bottcher’s Gap to Mt. Carmel has emerged as one of the most popular day hikes in the Ventana Wilderness (something we can easily see in the ever-increasing number of unwary net surfers who stumble onto this site by searching for “Mt. Carmel” or “Bottcher’s Gap to Mt. Carmel”). A summit register has even appeared!
When we visited again yesterday (May 8, 2010) we found a virtual parade of hikers lining the trail between Bottcher’s Gap and the summit. The trip seems especially popular among couples – and couples ranging in age from early twenties to late sixties were sweating their way up the hill.
Here’s a little of what we saw along the way …
A Canyon Oak (Quercus chrysolepis) blooms near Bottcher’s Gap.
Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) are common along the first half mile or so of trail.
Aphids swarm a Star Lily (Zigadenus fremontii).
The meadows are thick with Tomcat Clover (Trifolium willdenovii).
Red-Rayed Hulsea (Hulsea heterochroma) beginning to bloom on the back side of Skinner Ridge.
Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida) is blooming in immense quantity at the base of Devil’s Peak.
Tufted Poppies (Eschscholzia caespitosa) mix with Chia (Salvia columbariae), Owl’s Clover (Castilleja exserta), Sky Lupine (Lupinus nanus), Silver Lupine (Lupinus albifrons), and much, much more on the burned-over slopes of Devil’s Peak.
Scarlet Bugler (Penstomen centranthifolius) prepares to bloom.
White Lupinus albifrons
Wallflowers (Erysimum capitatum) and Pico Blanco.
Harlequin Lupine (Lupinus stiversii) and The Window.
Sky and Harlequin Lupine share an open field. Harlequin Lupine is uncommon in Monterey County, but is growing in large quantities in at least two areas on Devil’s Peak.
A closer view.
View of Pico Blanco from under the Black Oaks on the summit of Devil’s Peak.
Heavily blooming and intoxicatingly fragrant ceanothus crowds the side trail to the summit of Mt. Carmel.
We neglected to take a summit photo this year, so we’ll have to reprise this shot from 2 years ago. Other than being a whole lot busier, the place hasn’t changed any.