This year’s California super bloom of wildflowers is like nothing I have ever seen before. While I have been making posts on Facebook and Instagram, I know that some of my followers practice life without social media. (What a concept!) I would like to share for the record a more permanent record of this extraordinary event.
During the winter months I live on the very southern end of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. Indian Wells Valley is in the very corner pocket of the Basin and Range geomorphic province. The towns of Ridgecrest, Inyokern, and Pearsonville are located in the Indian Wells Valley. This winter we have had close to 170% of normal rainfall. From a distance we can see the results as the slopes of the Sierra are painting in pastel hues.
The above image shows Short Canyon, which will be our first foray. Highway 395 enters the lower right corner of the shot and heads toward the canyon. The horizontal cut along the slope on the left side of the photo is the Los Angeles aqueduct. Here are some shots from Short Canyon:
A few days later we decide to explore some more canyons. Indian Wells Canyon is our first choice, but the rains that have yielded the California super bloom have destroyed the road as far as my Subaru is concerned. We choose instead to head up to Sand Canyon.
In fact, Sand Canyon looks to be less bang for the buck, and a swollen stream puts the nail in that option’s coffin. We head south toward Grapevine Canyon. Turns out Grapevine Canyon is largely gated off as private property currently. (Several years ago we had the good fortune to explore its length). Undaunted, we take an aqueduct access road to find some color in the high country and hit pay dirt. Along the way, an unexpected and delightful surprise.
Indian Wells Canyon
While our initial journey up Indian Wells Canyon got turned around initially, I returned the next day with a trail bike. I had to take another shot at reaching the colors at the far end that beckoned my imagination and desire.
On the side
… and a few along Highway 395 between Johannesburg and Ridgecrest. A veritable carpet of color.
And every time I think I am done, it turns out I am not. One more shot of the Sierra’s from Indian Wells Valley and Ridgecrest. It is still happening. Full disclosure, I Photoshopped this image to remove the cut along the hillside provided by the city of Los Angeles for the DWP aqueduct. Apologies, but not really.
In closing I count my blessings each and every day, and especially on days such as these. I am blessed to have such a backyard. While the LA Times promotes super blooms in Death Valley and 40,000+ people show up to oogle the wonderment, Carolyn and I have had the privilege and pleasure to step out of our door and enjoy the wilderness largely alone. Weekends are busy, and posts such as these will do little to keep the secret safe, but weekdays are the rewards for the retired. Happy trails!
Spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s party!”