OH MY GAWD!
This is an exact quote from a CNPS member on seeing the super-bloom on the Carrizo Plain. Below is Marlin Harms’ picture of our ﬁeld trip. While national press has focussed on the wonderful color in the Temblors, there are great ﬂower displays on the west side of Caliente Mt., including the largest displays of desert candle I have ever seen. Color seekers might consider the trail through the wooden gate just north of the corrals where the road comes closest to the hills after passing Wallace Creek.
April Field Trip to the Carrizo Plain. Photo by Marlin Harms.
Desert candles on the west side of Caliente Mt. Photo by David Chipping.
If you are going to see the bloom in the Carrizo Plain, go quickly. The bloom is still increasing as this goes to press in mid-April, but hot days will take a fast toll. With luck the colors will hold through the ﬁrst couple of weeks in May. There is a lot of yellow, so there are a few pages from the downloadable Plants of the Carrizo Plain, available on our chapter web site.
Places on the Carrizo Plain worth visiting
(1) Belmont Trail, the ﬁrst paved cross street south of the California Valley ﬁre station. About a mile after pavement ends is an area of vernal pools. Continue east, crossing 7 Mile road and ending on Elkhorn Road.
(2) Go south on Elkhorn Rd., pass under the large PG&E power lines, pass the Wallace Creek San Andreas fault site until the road turns east right up to the edge of the steep Temblor Range. This is where the “big color” is that has attracted international attention.
(3) Continue south to Hurricane Rd., and drive east up to the top of the Temblor Range (high clearance recommended). The bluepurple colors are Phacelia and the orange Mentzelia. A redder purple is Eremalche. Yellows are the two Monolopias and Leptosyne.
(4) return to Elkhorn Rd. return past Wallace Creek, under the power lines again and turn west on Simmler Rd. Many of the species of the Temblors are here plus blue Delphinium and Lasthenia. Cross the south end of Soda Lake.
(5) Reach paved Soda Lake Rd., go south to visitor center.
(6) explore southward along Soda Lake Rd. or (7) drive to the top of Caliente Mt, next road (dirt) south of visitor center. (high clearance strongly recommended).
(8) From summit continue west past the avionics tower a couple of miles, before returning. This is a “don’t miss” mass of color and one of the largest displays of Desert Candle ever seen.
Don’t be just a ‘big color’ person. It is likely that there will be a lot of later ﬂowering species through the summer and into the fall.