A Blinding Blanket of Wildflowers

March 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm (California, Nature, Photography, Wildflowers) (, , , )

California poppies and goldfields, Lancaster, Calif.

California poppies and goldfields, Lancaster, Calif.

I’ve always wanted to see the fields of poppies in California, especially paired with the famous oaks near the central coast. And even though I’ve seen spectacular fields of wildflowers in the subalpine meadows at Mt. Rainier and in the San Juans of Colorado, I was just agog at what I saw last week near Lancaster, California.


As you can see, it looks like a literal blanket of both California poppies and the small daisy-like goldfields.  Obviously there was adequate rain this winter (it’s still winter for a few more days, actually.)


I had a three-day weekend, and went to Death Valley first in search of color.  But true to its name, it was pretty much dead except for a few isolated patches.  So I headed to the famous Antelope Valley and the poppy reserve set aside to preserve the diminishing vast patches of these iconic flowers.


Unfortunately, there is an abundance of invasive cheat grass, and few poppies compared to what lay outside the preserve.  Perhaps there will be more by now.  However, there was a field of the notch-leaved phacelia on one hillside.  With eight miles of trails to explore, I missed the patch of grape soda lupine which is supposed to smell like…grape soda.

Notch-leaved phacelia

Notch-leaved phacelia

I drove around this agricultural community in the lovely morning light, spotting orange and yellow seemingly spray-painted on the tops of hills bordering farmlands.


I looked for a road to get close to these inviting patches of color, and found several.  They were narrow dirt roads, and for the entire morning I was pretty much the only person there.  Meeting anyone else on those roads would have meant squashing flowers to let them pass by.


I first encountered the yellow blankets of goldfields and a Joshua tree forest.  The scene was electrifying, but further uphill were fields that left my mouth open in wonder.


_D600007-copy-2One large patch was mixed poppy-goldfields, while another a few miles away had purple Davy gilia instead of yellow mingled with the poppies.  I had a full day drinking in this amazing beauty, and was pretty much “poppied out” by the time I had to drive home.

California poppies and Davey gilia

California poppies and Davey gilia

_D600142-copy-2For updates on wildflowers blooming this week, there are several websites:

Desert USA

Theodore Payne Foundation

And many of the national parks have weekly reports.


Next week, hmmm… should I go south to Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego, or west to the emerald hills of central California and the coast?  The wildflowers are calling, and I must go…

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These images available for purchase here

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com






  1. AnaLuciaSilva said,


  2. DesertAbba said,

    Knock my eyes out!

  3. Alli Farkas said,

    Truly spectacular. I lived a few decades in Southern California and always wanted to see this, but either mistimed it or went to the wrong place…glad you found it and shared!

  4. Pam Leonard said,


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