Serendipity! I’d heard rumors that the California poppies were ready to burst, and our houseguests were excited to see them as I was. So we hopped in the car and followed the crowds to Lake Elsinore.
It was a cloudy afternoon when we set out, just a few hours before sunset. Seventy mountainous miles later–beyond the brake lights, and just past the impenetrable wall of traffic cops–we saw bright patches of green, purple and gold. The rain-soaked hills were awash in wildflowers.
We walked through shadows and dappled sunlight, followed large families and solo travelers. Every place we looked, we saw a profusion of poppies.
The sun reached into the flatlands, tinging the flower tips with a subtle glow. At the crest of each hill, brighter sunshine and day-glow petals. Think Wizard of Oz, with bright orange poppies instead of red. No way you’ll fall asleep in these wildflower fields!
Golden State, indeed.
We watched our step, so as not to disturb the delicate flowers. But not everyone was as mindful. Professional photographers –who arguably should’ve known better–lugged their heavy gear over hill and dale, mowing down flowers and planting their tripods in prime viewing areas.
Selfie-lovers careened from one flower patch to the next, on a quest for the perfect Instagram post.
But for every careless visitor, there were dozens of nature lovers who treaded lightly, talking in reverent tones about the beautiful sight before us.
Behold the handiwork of Mother Nature! These hillsides are typically barren, but for Super Bloom 2019, she’s stitched together a patchwork quilt of lupine, cream cups, coreopsis and dozens of delicate wildflowers.
We explored every nook and cranny, followed the last vestiges of light. Poppies lifted their petals toward the waning sun–golden chalices, soaking up every last bit of glory.
When night fell, the temperatures dropped. The poppies drew their petals closer, and tucked themselves into a blanket of lupine.
We snuggled deeper into our jackets and headed down the mountain. I managed one last picture before we reached our car: A bouquet of wildflowers, collected at the edge of the road. Uniquely California, for my European friends.
I’m so glad they were here during peak blooming season! Such a rare and wonderful phenomenon, made even more magical for their presence. Our eyes sparkle, and our faces shine, whenever we talk about this special day.