May 2, 2010

Explore: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

When I was growing up in Texas, I would go over to my friend, Stacy Jackson's house after school on a regular basis. Hanging out with her usually meant watching one of two movies, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz.

Last weekend, Raisin Bread was in town so I took him to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve to see the poppies at the height of their flowering season. The reserve is located about an hour and a half northeast of Los Angeles. It is kind of a drive, but well worth it to feel like Dorothy in a field of poppies. We just didn't get high and fall asleep. 

It's nap time for Dorothy

Wildflower season typically occurs between March and May, but the peak viewing season for the poppies is usually mid-April. Timing and color varies from year to year depending on rainfall and other factors. As you are driving to the reserve, the hillside is completely covered in orange, and we realized that many of the wildflowers actually exist outside of the reserve. We took this opportunity to take some photos in these fields because once you get inside the reserve, you must stay on the trail although many people were breaking this rule. It is unfortunate because you can see patches of missing flowers from where people must have trampled.

The park has 8 miles of hiking trails. Raisin Bread and I weren't really wearing appropriate hiking attire so we did the 2.5 mile loop. I wanted to go to the top of the hill to give him a smooch.

Rolling hills of poppies
Poppies, poppies, poppies.
Snow-capped mountains in the background
wildflowers in the foreground
A closer view of the orange poppies
A cluster of poppies
The reserve holds a variety of wildflowers, not only poppies

I'm always amazed at the beauty that can be found in our fair city/state/country if only we seek it out and, very importantly, if we protect it. I feel very fortunate that smart men and women decided this place was special and deserved to be shared.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
15101 Lancaster Road
Lancaster, CA

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