El Nino has brought rains to California over the last several months. More rain is still likely, so maybe—after enough rain and extensive snow pack throughout the year—the state’s long, long drought will start to subside. I certainly hope that the drought comes to an end sooner, rather than later.
But I am also hopeful that this year might generate some impressive wildflowers.
In late March 2015, I saw some great wildflowers in Mojave’s Red Rock Canyon. The California Poppy Preserve is hopeful for a good bloom this year, again in late March or April. Thus far no extensive blooms are evident in the park or on the Gorman Hills along the Grapevine. I figured I would start my hunt for wildflowers in about a month.
Then I heard about the 2016 Superbloom erupting in Death Valley.
A Ranger posted the above YouTube video on this year’s blossoms in early February. Even though I did not notice the video until late February—so the blooms would have started to fade—I decided I would head to Death Valley for a wildflower adventure. If nothing else, I knew from my Death Valley trip last spring that I would enjoy the great scenery and fun curvy steep roads.
I started my trip, heading east on Highway 178. Its route along the Kern River is always lush and green after a good rain. This year, California Poppies adorn the hills and other wildflowers jumped out along the roadside.
My quick detour through Red Rock Canyon confirmed it was too early for extensive flowers this early in the spring. About all I saw were the yellow blossoms of the Creosote Bushes that dot the area near the Visitor Center and an occasional Yucca starting to bud.
The next day, when I first started into Death Valley, I did not see much color.
Eventually, gold and purple bushes dotted the roads, but the color was still minimal.
Golden Evening Primrose
Just as I was thinking the Superbloom must be over, I hit a stretch along Highway 190 where Desert Gold bushes spread out across the fields. Although the blossoms were rather muted and starting to wane, they were quite impressive as they stretched across field after field throughout the park. Other wildflowers jumped into view at various places, adding to the colorful palette. Obviously, the Ranger was right: If this more extensive blanketing of color only happens about once every ten years, my trip to Death Valley was well worth the effort. The wonder and diversity of nature is always impressive!
That’s a Woman Out in the Field
Desert Gold Sunflower
The next day I headed home, traveling Highways 14 and 58 through Tehachapi. Once again, some California Poppies and a few other wildflowers painted the hills and roadsides.
All in all, it was a beautiful and colorful couple of days!
NOTE: I’ve done my best to give the names of some of the flowers, but if you can add a name or make a correction, please do so. Thanks.
Do you have any favorite places you visit to see wildflowers in bloom?
SOME QUOTES ABOUT WILDFLOWERS
“Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like a stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” John Steinbeck
“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.” Sheryl Crow
“Love is like wildflowers; it’s often found in the most unlikely places.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is easier to tell a person what life is not, rather than to tell them what it is. A child understands weeds that grow from lack of attention in a garden. However, it is hard to explain the wildflowers that one gardener calls weeds, and another considers beautiful ground cover.” Shannon L. Adler
“There are as many ways of loving as there are people, and that wildflower variety is the great beauty of this dimension of existence.” Rumi
“Wildflowers are the stuff of my heart!” Lady Bird Johnson
“The more often we see the things around us—even the beautiful and wonderful things—the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds, even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” Joseph B. Wirthlin
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence, see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse
“Earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” A. A. Milne
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter. . . to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in the spring—these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs
A Couple Last Views from Death Valley Superbloom