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!”
Full resolution images can be viewed (and even purchased?) on my Smug Mug Gallery: California Super Bloom 2019
For a complete directory of pictorial blogs, visit my Blog Directory (duh)
Outstanding!!!! I have commented previously, and will again. You should be a contract photographer for The National Geographic Society. Truly.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you kindly but that sounds too much like a job.
Oh Tom, your photos are so lovely they made my heart ache! Thank you for sharing our amazing talent!
All part of the service mam!
Very enjoyable Tom. I have only seen Sand Canyon dry, so your description makes me want to go now!
When we see each other, remind me to show you a video of my Subaru crossing the creek last year.
Beautiful images of a once in lifetime scene. Joyce and I enjoyed the pictures and they provoked our wanderlust.
as always – superb. And flowers being my most favorite thing——————————Oh so beautiful! I feel a couple of paintings coming on.
absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for bring spring to the valley.
Brilliant and subtle color carpeting our hillside were captured by
your splendid photos!
Great pictures, Major! I’m glad you are there to see it and take photographs that the rest of us can enjoy. The desert spring blooms after a wet winter are certainly one of nature’s wonders.
How’s hwy 178 from hwy 99 to 395 . Any wildflowers there?