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Home / US / California's "Super Bloom" fades as temperatures rise: NPR

California's "Super Bloom" fades as temperatures rise: NPR



Sunset over the Carrizo Plain National Monument north of Los Angeles. The super bloom of wildflowers fades to brown.

Kirk Siegler / NPR


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Kirk Siegler / NPR

Sunset over the Carrizo Plain National Monument north of Los Angeles. The super bloom of wildflowers fades to brown.

Kirk Siegler / NPR

Just two and a half hours from Los Angeles, it feels like another world hopping along an old Jeep road in the remote Temblor Range.

"The rainbows these hills have been for the past month have pretty much disappeared," remarks my friend Michael Lee Jackson, a professional photographer and amateur researcher, as we drive.

It is his seventh trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument since mid-March. This was the beginning of the "Super Blossom" that transformed the deserts and prairies of Southern California into breathtaking mosaics of yellows, oranges, reds, purples and blues.

Jackson loves to document the changes. "Apart from the shapes of the hills," he says, "it does not look like it's the same place at all, it looks like it's in between paint jobs."

Meanwhile, the insane crowds of people carrying selfie sticks are trying to break out of this fast of beauty for their Instagram feeds, diluted. But there are still some purple and white ones – the lupines, the daisies on the hillside. And on the floor of the huge plain itself, a huge yellow carpet, hundreds of acres in size.

A field of yellow flowers in the Temblor Range at the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Kirk Siegler / NPR


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Kirk Siegler / NPR

We are glad to explore this place mainly for yourself.

The protected monument named by President Clinton in 2001 is huge – about 40 miles long and 15 miles wide – self-intimidating. Standing on the ground level and absorbing everything is like standing in an inland sea. To the left Lusher Mountains, which are closer to the Pacific Ocean, burnt brown to the right desert hills, cut through the San Andreas Fault toward their base.

There are few amenities such as signs or marked trails.

What remains of an abandoned ranch on the Carrizo Plain National Monument, where summer brings scorching temperatures and little rain.

Kirk Siegler / NPR


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What is left of an abandoned ranch on the Carrizo Plain National Monument, where the summer brings scorching temperatures and little rain.

Kirk Siegler / NPR

When the "Super Bloom" began to fade, Jackson trained his lens on the old, dilapidated ranch houses with their collapsed roofs. On the fields are pickups and plows from the Depression. Remains of homesteads trying to scrape their livelihoods in a severe, hot and dry environment.

"Living in these places has always been very hard, the elements are so extreme," he says. "People have this idyllic picture of a little house in the prairie." The answer is brutal. "

Even at the beginning of the year, the afternoon sun is already feeling brutal, and in a few weeks mercury will be in the hundreds.All these flowers, which have sprung from the rainier winter than normal winter, wither and become fuel for Summer bonfire.

One of the few marked starting points, Wallace Creek, re-launches sunscreen Walkers fill their water bottles A family in a minivan looks a bit unprepared – we warn them to drink more water than they think They are out now We've already seen two

Photographer Michael Lee Jackson jumps out of his Toyota to catch a closer look at a rattlesnake basking on the dirt road.

Kirk Siegler / NPR


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Photographer Michael Lee Jackson jumps out of his Toyota to catch a closer look at a rattlesnake basking on the dirt road.

Kirk Siegler / NPR

Asked about the best place to see the super bloom, experienced visitor Jackson can not tell. There is really no good answer.

"People want a quick panacea to find the most beautiful things," Jackson says later. "But a place like this is different every day."

Jackson has been out here for almost a decade. After another long climb, we finally reached one of his favorite photography spots, a retractable and makeshift campsite that sits on the edge of a steep canyon high in the Temblor Range.

Opposite and below us there are still yellow fields.

"I was here before it bloomed here," he says, releasing his trigger. "And I can now tell a bigger story about this place."

What is this story?

It's about the instability of nature, he says, about the ever evolving artwork of nature. It's a story most people will never see as soon as the Superbloom turns brown.


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