Spring is in full force in the deserts of Southern California and the weekend was a wonderful excursion to see the landscape in it’s full glory. A bit of a rocky start, trying to find available camping delayed our arrival time and we didn’t get set up until 2am. Looking back, we should have just opted for numerous available dispersed camping in Carrizo to begin with.
However, once the sun rose the next morning it was breathtaking. I was familiar with the legendary superblooms, but to witness in person was a new experience. There’s a lot to see, and the monument itself is more of a do-it-yourself-adventure, which is generally my preferred choice. A lot of time is spent exploring, finding what roads up canyons are open, which ones dead-end, what hillsides you can see from hiking up to which vantage points, and so on. There’s plenty of good views from the main route on Elkhorn Road, but I think you miss out on a lot staying solely on it. We spent quite a bit of time exploring roads along the ridge and in the hills, which has many places you can’t see from the plain itself. If you are planning to go, I’d recommend taking time to explore it extensively and maybe even a second visit if you can, as the lighting changes rather significantly through the day and the flowers themselves can change somewhat quickly during the course of a few days as well.
Antelope Valley was quite a sight to behold as well, although you have to be prepared for crowds galore on the weekends. The only negative on our trip there was the relentless wind; it’s difficult to focus-stack an image when the little flowers are blowing all over the place. Oh, and don’t go off the trail. Not just because you’ll damage the foliage which hurts it for everyone – there are plenty of rattlesnakes. I saw at least 3 myself in a few mile walk. Maybe they are nature’s equivalent of rangers who fight back against all the people destroying flowers for purposes of a selfie…
While we were in the area, I also got to check off an item on my todo list : see an SR-71. There’s only a handful of them in museums, scattered around various places. This particular one we visited (Blackbird Airpark) was nice and apparently the only place you can see an SR-71 alongside an A-12 (it’s predecessor).