April 8, 2014
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve was reporting a bloom better than the last several years, so last Tuesday my son and I headed out that direction. On the way I was amazed at how many flowers were blooming just in the general desert area. No one was reporting these locations! Carpets of huge healthy desert dandelion interspersed with phacelia, verbena, primrose, purple mat, pincushion, and other "prettily flellas" (so says my 2-year-old son). We stopped to explore them in one particularly good spot, and we saw a huge Red-tail Hawk flying overhead. Then we continued on to the reserve.
It was a beautiful bright sunshiney day with no wind - which is important for optimal poppy viewing, because they'll close when it's cold and/or windy. And because it was a weekday there were only a few other people out and about. We chatted with a few volunteers at the visitor center, then started hiking the North and South Poppy Loop Trails. We encountered many large fields of poppies, and the individual flowers were huge and healthy looking :) And of course happy looking, poppies are happy flowers! We also saw some lupine, and I loved the purple against the sea of orange.
After our hike at the reserve, we took a drive up towards Lake Hughes, where the Powerhouse Fire had occurred last year. I had a hunch that in the burn area there might be some good flowers - and I was right :) But I didn't get many photos, because my son was sleeping in the car and I didn't want to leave him. Might have to go back this next week...
We then made our way back down towards the reserve, but this time explored some dirt roads to the east. Here we saw even larger fields of poppies. And we found a good spot to car camp for the night. We had a nice relaxing evening and then watched a nice sunset. In the morning we drove back towards the poppy fields. Because it was cloudy, they were not open, but were still beautiful. I was glad we'd driven out the day, before, though, for the better weather and viewing.