Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update
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!