Sunday, April 7, 2019

Superbloom! The Big Picture

Carrizo Plain National Monument, CA

In certain rainy years like 2019, the remote Carrizo Plain National Monument bursts into a wildflower “superbloom” for just a few short weeks in March or April.

Soda Lake reflects the Temblor Range, showy with fields of wildflowers, despite alkaline conditions. The San Andreas Fault runs through the base of the range.

Surrounding Soda Lake, the ground is a carpet of flowers in every direction. Here’s the view to the southwest in early morning.

Several rough miles down Soda Lake Road, we find our own private mini-mountain to climb, with no-people views in every direction. In a month, all this will be gone.

Up along the Wallace Creek trail, we hike up into the Temblor Range for a stunning afternoon of close-up mountainside flower viewing.

The details of the range inspire awe: the many colors, flowers growing on both grassy and sandy slopes, and a hint of California poppies, relatively rare here.

A wall of yellow—with touches of purple—reflects the late afternoon sun, dazzling and overwhelming our senses with a mind-boggling number of blooms.

Along Seven Mile Road, we spy another patch of California poppies, this one far up on a ridge of private land. Respecting the fence, I’ve switched to telephoto mode.

The sun sinks low in the sky, our water supply has dwindled, and we’re weary of sun and wind. We bid farewell to a world that will never look quite the same again.

Acknowledging that the fields of color are comprised of billions of individual flowers, in my next post I’ll focus on the beauty of such individuals.

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