A journey in search of California's wild flowers.
The bountiful rain that Southern California received in the past 3 to 4 months has done wonders for its wildflower population.
With all the hype of wild flowers this month, I could not resist in visiting two parks that were sure to have thousands of bright colored blooms everywhere you looked.
The first was Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, located in the high desert just north of Los Angeles. As of March 12th, it already had clusters of golden orange blooms along the rolling hills. After viewing the masses of bright orange flowers it is no wonder why the poppy was named as our glorious state flower. This area is expected to be in its prime by the end of March and early April - so the ranger volunteers said at the time of my visit.
The second 'must see' park I visited was Anza-Borrego State Park, located in the high desert between Palm Springs and San Diego - as the crow flies. It is currently experiencing what they call the 'Super-bloom.' Allegedly, in early March the hot spot for wild flowers was in the northwest corner of Borrego Springs off of the Santa Catarina Trail and the new spot as of March 17, was off of Henderson Canyon Rd in the northeast section of Borrego Springs; however, with the presence of hundreds of caterpillars in this field of vibrant yellow may soon be mowed down to sticks by the hungry caterpillars. Not to worry, there are other fields of brilliant yellow along the Di Giorgio Rd just north of Henderson Canyon Rd and along Borrego Springs Rd, south of the Christmas Circle. If you hike along the Hellhole Canyon trail you will also find numerous plants in bloom. But don't forget to stop at the Visitors Center where you can find a number of blooming cacti and shrubs as well as watch a wonderful short film about the animal and plant life in the desert.
If you cannot make it to either park, don't panic! Even a short drive from your home in Southern California will enable you to catch a few wild flowers blooming in the medians of road ways or on the sides of some of our vast highways systems. A few spots I have found recently is the I-5 in San Diego county, the 15 between Corona and Temecula, and the dreaded 91 freeway between Corona and Anaheim Hills.
So good luck wild flower hunting, but for your safety and enjoyment as well as the safety and enjoyment of other wild flower seekers, please abide by the following rules:
1) Watch out for snakes! The rattlers are out and were spotted in Antelope Valley.
2) Don't pick the wild flowers. Take as many photos as you like, but let others enjoy them while they last.
3) Abide by safe parking rules and watch out for other drivers as you pull back onto the road - I saw at least one roll over accident due to this issue this past weekend.
4) If you plan to hike very far from your vehicle, take lots of water. I saw at least two people on a Borrego Springs trail this past weekend that looked close to suffering from heat stroke due to an insufficient supply of water at the middle of a long hot hike.
Happy flower hunting!