Adenostoma sparsifolia

Guatay Mountain

By Tom Oberbauer, Vice President, CNPS-SD

I drove out east on I-8 fairly early in the morning.  The sky was heavily clouded to the point that mist was falling and it was necessary to use the windshield wipers.  However, east of Alpine, the sun burst through and the sky was perfectly clear with no hint of a cloud.  I was working on another rare plant survey to identify locations of Packera ganderi (Gander’s butterweed) and any other rare plants for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) under their contract with AECOM.  I drove east toward the town of Guatay and onto the Old Highway 80, the old concrete slab two lane highway with that characteristic bumpety-bump sound from the tires hitting the tar-filled slab joints across the road. I remember when this was the only road east, before I-8 was constructed.  I needed to find a place to park and I first thought about parking at the Lutheran church parking area in the town and then I thought I would try the road through the village of Guatay to where it looked like a trail took off, a trail I had seen on Google Earth.  However, a few dozen yards down the road there were signs on both sides of the road that stated unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense.  Not only that, directly adjacent to that area was a towing service yard with an active tow truck; by active, I mean that the engine was running.