Laws Junction Before and Seven Years After the Mountain Fire, San Jacinto Mountain
The 2013 Mountain Fire burned a large part of Tahquitz Valley, including the Laws Junction Area. Because of the five year closure of the burn area by the Forest Service, preventing any maintenance on the Caramba Trail and the Laws Connector Trail (from the Willow Creek Trail), it essentially became impossible to hike to Laws Junction using those usual routes due to the growth of whitethorn Ceanothus obliterating those trails.
On 24 July 2020, I finally was able to get to Laws Junction using an off-trail route following the ridge down from the Willow Creek Trail that skirted the edge of the vast Ceanothus fields. The area was unrecognizable to me without the "Laws Junction" sign, the log bridge at the crossing, and any evidence of the trails that used to be at the junction!
I navigated to the GPS point I had for Laws Junction, but still couldn't recognize it. I took a series of pano shots from that point in hopes of matching them to pictures taken before the fire.
Since I apparently had never taken a picture of that junction, I searched the web for pictures of Laws Junction before the fire. The best one I could find to match the pictures I took was taken by Don Endicott in 2012 from his day hike to Caramba. Don's pix is shown below, used with his permission, labeled with numbers of features that match my pix that follows. Each pix is linked to a larger version.
Because the pix are not taken from exactly the same angle, the spacing between some of the features appears different, and it takes two of my pix to show the area seen in Don's pix.
Don's pix from 2012:
My pix from 24 July 2020, eight years after Don's pix and seven years after the Mountain Fire, taken from a somewhat-different angle:
Click on the pictures to get larger versions.
For other pix of this area, see:
Pre-fire 2005: Joe Idoni's Sam Fink Peak 5/29/05. Pre-fire 2012: Don Endicott's San Jacinto Wilderness: day hike to Caramba Post-fire 2019: JFR's Laws Camp and Caramba June 2019.
I thank Don Endicott for allowing me to use his photo on this page.
Copyright © 2020 by Tom Chester.
Commercial rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce any or all of this page for individual or non-profit institutional internal use as long as credit is given to me and Don Endicott at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 26 July 2020