Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

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Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update
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By Robert Bernstein

Figueroa Mountain is usually ablaze with poppies and other wildflowers at this time. We headed out there on Saturday during a pause in the fierce winds that have been hitting us every day.

Here are my photos of what we saw at Figueroa Mountain and during a stop in Solvang afterwards.

We did see a few patches of poppies along Figueroa Mountain Road like these:

We posed for this roadside photo

But what is most striking is the overall lack of poppies, at least for now. Here we stopped at the overlook of Grass Mountain which is usually covered with an orange tinge from all the poppies. There were a few poppies on the trail below the overlook where Merlie was posing. But Grass Mountain did not appear to have a single poppy:

This red-tailed hawk was probably the highlight of our excursion, at least for me:

But we did see a few other wildflowers. We saw these little goldfield flowers at one parking area:

And a few shooting stars there like this one:

A mile past the Ranger Station is the famous roadside area where poppies and lupines are usually covering the hillside. There were a few, but nothing like the usual numbers:

Not far from that spot we did see this strip of lupines just along the edge of the road:

At one point the sky gave this most spectacular effect. I am not sure what caused it, but it felt very transcendent!

Many of the oak trees along the road are festooned with lichen:

After exploring most of Figueroa Mountain Road we headed toward Solvang, past a field of cows:

We were heading to the Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor which is owned by my Solstice friend Clau and her family. We were sad to see it and pretty much all of the local businesses were closed:

I expected restaurants to be closed for sit-down meals. I thought it would be like Isla Vista where most places are open for carry-out. But Solvang was almost like a ghost town:

When I look at my photos from past years, I see that the wildflower blooms can come any time in the next month or so. So, we may check back over there in a few weeks. And maybe Solvang will be serving ice cream, Danish pastries and carry-out again by then!

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ESL_teacher Apr 01, 2020 12:13 PM
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

Thanks, Robert, for the reminder of another natural resource that we can seek out. Nature continues to provide consolation and inspiration. And thanks to A-158... for the brilliant Dickens quote.

sbrobert Apr 01, 2020 11:33 AM
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

Thank you all for the very kind words. Wildflowers may be late this year or they may never amount to much. It is hard to tell. Looking at my photos from past years, I usually see a peak in late March. But I do see in 2012 they were blooming on May 5. Below is a link to my photos from April 14, 2018 that show poppies on Grass Mountain. So it is possible more poppies are yet to come. Thanks! http://swt.org/hikes/figueroa-2018-0414/

Shasta Guy Apr 01, 2020 06:17 AM
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

Thanks Robert! We are surrounded by wonderful natural beauty which you bring right to us with your photos. To get a few of us out or the house on Sunday, we drove up to San Marcos Pass, traversed E. Camino Cielo, and came down Gibraltar Rd. Many of the same flowers you photographed are also in bloom there. The vibrant greenery is also wonderful. We all need to enjoy it now before it starts to dry out.

taz Mar 31, 2020 08:34 PM
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

Lovely photos Robert. Looks like you two had a wonderful, sight-filled day! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. :)

a-1590515612 Mar 31, 2020 11:13 AM
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update

Mr. Bernstein, uplifting and beautiful. Thank you. Here's a gift: A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens, wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

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