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Super Bloom 2019

Super Bloom 2019

By Marian Johns

Recently I’ve been hearing about the super bloom of poppies down along I-15 near Lake Elsinore and remembered another time several years ago when there was another springtime bloom down there near the Lake Street off ramp that had been quite impressive. Well, it’s not far, so I loaded up Neal in the car and off we went. I was expecting a show like the previous one, but was I was totally unprepared for this year’s spectacular show! There weren’t just poppies around Lake Street; there were miles of hillsides covered with poppies all along I-15.

We went on a Tuesday because I figured there wouldn’t be so many like-minded folks, but I was certainly wrong about that. There were people everywhere stopped along the frontage road. I even met some tourists from Argentina taking photos like everyone else. And when we finally reached Lake Street, we found an incredible number of cars and people everywhere – causing a major traffic jam. I’ve heard since that the city is now charging to park and also charging per person.

Sunny and Jean Hansen had told me about the nice flowers along the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park and I had also heard the flowers were nice in Anza Borrego, so instead of returning on home, we continued on to Temecula and took Highway 79 south. It’s been years since I’ve been this way and I unexpectedly passed Ricardo Breceda’s place. He’s the fellow who has made all of the sculptures in Borrego Springs. If you have ever been to Borrego Springs, you have probably seen some of his work. Of course I had to stop and let me tell you, his home has an incredible number of similar creations, all for sale. I think he said he had some 400 out in his display.

The flowers we saw in Anza Borrego were just so-so, but I had fun discovering some new sculptures, a huge scorpion facing off with a giant cricket and a huge dragon-snake creature that slithers in and out of the sand.

That night we got a motel room in Ocotillo Wells (no vacancies in Borrego Springs) and in the morning headed to Joshua Tree N.P. Sunny and Jean were right, the flowers were lovely and I must have spent two or three hours taking photos along the highway. After taking umpteen pictures along the southern entrance to the park, we drove all the way through the park and then turned west on Highway 62 in Twentynine Palms and headed home.

It’s hard to describe how uplifting those two days were.  It’s good to be alive! Next week I’m hoping to spend a  couple of days seeing wildflowers in Antelope Valley and Carrizo Plains. ~ Marian