Wild Flowers of the Carizzo Plains National Monument CA 

An explosion of  color from the Wild Flowers as Spring comes to the  CARIZZO  PLAIN  NATIONAL MONUMENT in  Southern California.

 

Wild Flowers of the Carizzo Plains National Monument CA Rain Map

 

Isolated from the busy  freeways, about an hour east of San Luise Obispo, is the Carrizo Plain National Monument.  Fifty miles long and fifteen miles wide,  it is not a monument in the sense of a  bronze  or plaster  statue, but rather a huge grasslands with a dry alkali  bed of water known as Soda Lake. This is  the largest remaining alkali wetlands in Southern California and it  is named Soda Lake because as the water evaporates, the chemicals become concentrated leaving dried sulfates and carbonates, resembling baking soda on the surface.

 While the spot is known to nature lovers and birders, most people have never heard of it and it is definitely off the well traversed tourist route.

 

Wild Flowers of the Carizzo Plains National Monument CA Purple Flowers

 

Last year the secret was out when this part of the country burst into color with an explosion of wild flowers seldom seen before and no one can predict when it will happen again.  The reason for the profusion of flowers was the unexpected heavy rains that were experienced in the winter and spring  following a period of drought.   It became known as “Superbloom”, and the Instagrammers and Facebookers went into overdrive capturing the exceptional images.

Wild flowers in a remote  corner of California are not usually “my thing”, but  there were so many dramatic reports in the papers, urging people to go before the flowers passed their prime, that I decided to go  and see what this was about.

Leaving the  101 freeway at Santa Margaretha, a small hamlet that is in a time warp and worth a stop for refreshments, I followed the directions that were supplied by the Wild Flower Hotline. What they did not mention was that the GPS works only sporadically after one leaves “Civilization”and to have excellent directions before setting out.  

 

Wild Flowers of the Carizzo Plains National Monument CA Yellow Flowers Covering Field

 

Arriving, there was a small building where I was able to get more information, but I knew I had arrived because  the plains were alive with color,  yellow coreopsis, purple phacelia and blue lupins seemed to dominate, expanses of flowers, bending in the wind like soldiers.   Never ever have I seen such a profusion of wild flowers blanketing the flats, the hills and the ravines. It was a photographers dream and there were people with camera gear capturing the mile after mile of colorful landscape.

 

 

Becoming engrossed in the experience and trying to find as many fields of flowers as possible, I lost sense of time until I realized the sun was getting low and it was time to leave and find my way back to the freeway before dark. There are vast expanses with no humans and it is  easy to get lost especially as dusk falls.  Ask me how I know !!  There are some road signs but it is very remote with no street lights and poor  GPS reception.   Fortunately I found a Fire Station and the firefighters set me on the course back to civilization untilI I was able to reconnect with the GPS.

 

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This year when I checked the papers and websites  for news of the California Wild Flowers, every report said  the wether conditions had not been favorable and  last year’s “Superbloom” will likely take years to  be repeated. 

Was it worth it? Absolutely. 

If ever you read that it is a good season for the wild flowers, don’t hesitate. It is an unforgettable experience. Through the Wildflower Hotline, it is possible to find out different areas where the Wild flowers can be seen, their varieties and best time to view them.

Wildflower Hotline    818-768-1802

Also check the Los Angeles Times and the San Luis Obispo Tribune for updates and mention of  other areas to view Wild-flowers.

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