Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

Hiking the California Poppy Preserve title=
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve
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Purple blooms against brilliant orange hillsides in the poppy reserve

By an edhat reader

Carpets of brilliant orange, intermixed with lupine and mustard flowers, sometimes dancing in the warm breeze, the California Poppy superbloom is a visual feast. Hiking in its midst is sublime.

Poppies and wildflowers form a natural kaleidoscope

We took these at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on April 7, 2019. There are well-maintained trails so there was no need to step on any flowers. It's an easy and beautiful 1.5 hour drive from Santa Barbara from Highway 101 to Highway 126 to some canyon roads we'd never visited before. Along the way, we saw a LA Department of Water and Power substation built with a reservoir in the late 1920s as a work project with art deco styling.  

Sunlight hits lavender blooms against an electric orange sea of flowers

I thought color contrast would make for more interesting photos, and that was challenging in a sea of almost solid electric orange. When I saw short purple flowers, I sat down on the trail and got the orange sea from the purple flower’s perspective. I like how the sunlight is hitting the tops of these lavendar blooms.

Hillside slopes of lupine and poppies intersect

I also like diagonal landscape elements and am happy with how these slopes are colored and intersect. It was 86 degrees out. Would you believe there was snow dusting the tops of the San Bernardino Mountains in the distance?

Poppies thrive along the hillside
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Factotum Apr 14, 2019 05:26 PM
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

That DWP Power station I assume you passed was part of the very tragic failure of the San Francis Dam in the San Francisquito Canyon built by Mulholland, Chief Engineer and General Manager of Los Angeles Water and Power. A wall of water rushed down to the sea Ventura following the Santa Clara River in 1928. The 1920 original power station was totally destroyed so the one you saw was rebuilt after that major flood. The movie "Chinatown" is loosely based on this incident and the water politics in LA during the 1920's. Volunteers attempted to pass the alarm door to door to those still asleep when the dam broke slightly before midnight on March 12, 1928. Two of these heroic volunteers are memorialized in bronze on their motorcycles in a small park in Santa Paula, which was also critically on the 54 mile wall of water until it washed out to sea 5 and one half tortured hours later. 336 died.

jak Apr 16, 2019 09:05 AM
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

Factotum is confusing at least two different incidents. The implication that Mulholland’s DWP was sleazy is undeniably true but the events portrayed in Chinatown had nothing to do with the collapse of the San fransiquito dam. They were indirectly related to activities in the Owens Valley and directly related to the political shenanigans used to justify that land/power grab.

Soccer-Fan Apr 16, 2019 10:06 AM
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing. We visited the Poppy Reserve last week. It was too windy and cold the walk and take pictures so your shots are really appreciated :)

Flicka Apr 16, 2019 10:18 AM
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

It was a vicious scheme to steal water from the Owens Valley. However, if it hadn't happened Owens Lake would be surrounded by hotels and condos. Who knows what the whole valley would have been developed into. Luckily, a priest came up with the idea of saving the area by becoming a tourist destination. It is beautiful and gives a feeling of early California "Un-development".

Flicka Apr 16, 2019 10:20 AM
Hiking the California Poppy Preserve

By the way, thank you "photo poster" for the beautiful scenes from your trip. It must have been mind boggling to see all those flowers.

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