Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

I haven't been very successful at keeping this thing going. I'm bringing it up to date by posting some past local excursions and will make a greater effort to post adventures in a more timely manner. If you don't live in Southern California, these little outings may be of interest to you. Even if you do live here, you may find them informative. Los Angeles is famous for having a populace that knows far-flung locales better than they know their own. 

As winter fades, those of us in the know start looking at the website of the California Poppy Reserve in Antelope Valley. If the rains have been good in the winter, we can expect a big bloom of wildflowers in the spring. We didn't have much rain this winter. As you no doubt know, California is in a serious drought. For whatever reason, the poppies did not seem to care. There was a wonderful bloom. I made it out there at the very end of the season, but it was a good day. This trip was taken on April 30, 2014.

The Antelope Valley is about 85 miles from where I live. If I take the freeways, it is a 90 minute drive. I leave home as early as makes sense, which is no later than 6:00 AM. Leaving then allows me to miss a lot of the traffic and to get through most of my hike before it gets really hot. This year it took a lot longer to get there because I put the GPS on the shorter distance setting rather than the fast time one. It took me through a lot of back country I had not seen. It was a strange and beautiful ride. I finally came across a snake on this hike. They have rattlesnakes up there and people get bitten every year. I'd like to see one of those, as long as I see long before it sees me. The one I came across was a harmless gopher snake. Harmless, but not particularly friendly. That's okay, I hate snakes, but coming across a rattler would make a good story.

I have learned how to transfer my GPS tracks to Google Maps. Just think if I knew how to do this when I was in Japan! You could have had much more info about those long walks I took. Well, that's show biz. I may go back and recreate some of those trips to add a little info. Anyway, click on "HERE" and you will get a map of the Poppy Hike. I have the map set to satellite view, but if you go to the bottom of the box on the left of your screen you will see a pull-down menu for "Base Map." You can chose what type of map you prefer to overlay my track on. I have also place camera icons that approximate where the photos were taken. If you want to get rid of those icons, just uncheck the "Waypoints," box. What fun.

The beginning of the trail headed west from the parking lot.

A close-up of the poppies.

The sun is still rising. It is about 7:30 AM. 
Lots of types of wild flowers.
Plenty of color.

And plenty of poppies looking to the southeast.
On more level ground. The trails are a workout; you gain lots of altitude.
The snake.
Not a snake.
Later I went by Robb Stewart's shop. He had just finished restoring this over-the-shoulder E-flat tuba. It is one of the largest ones I have seen. Click "HERE" for the story.

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