California Super Bloom: Carrizo Plain National Monument
Thanks to a monsoon-like winter in California -- helping squash the worst drought in recent history -- the high deserts are experiencing record-setting snow levels and the low deserts are witnessing a mind-blowing superbloom of wildflowers.
One such superbloom is happening a 6-hour drive (in good traffic) south of San Francisco, in Carizzo Plain National Monument. I decided that this one-in-a-lifetime show wasn't something I wanted to miss.
Max was slated to lead rock-climbing instruction in Los Angeles on Easter weekend, so I loaded up my car and trailed behind his commute. The plan was to spend a night camping on the Plain and a day hiking in the flower-filled ranges. He'd head to LA for work and I'd shimmy myself back to San Francisco after that.
When we woke up, the golden hue on the mountains looked nothing more than the sunrise shining brightly on the hillsides. But as we approached the range, it became clear that the colors were coming strictly from flowers.
Yellow is the most predominant color on the range, but there were large patches of purple, maroon, orange, red, and white flowers that also striped the land.
I ended up enjoying the unusally-quiet-for-a-holiday-weekend Plains so much that I stayed an extra night on my own -- crammed into a sleeping bag in the back of my car, looking out at the Milky Way in the frigid nighttime desert air.