Amid a winter marked by heavy rain, a profusion of California poppies has blanketed the hills of Riverside County, and you can even see their eye-popping orange color from 35,000 feet on board a plane.
Nick Almond captured the spectacular floral display from aboard a plane that took off from Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend, and the images are going viral in the My Home is California Facebook group where members share photos showing off the Golden State’s beauty.
The so-called “super bloom” is centered around the small town of Lake Elsinore, and it turns out the best way to see the wildflowers might be from an airplane or in the photos above.
The town has been overwhelmed by Disneyland-size crowds and on some days traffic has come to a complete halt on Interstate 15 passing by the flowery hillsides.
On Sunday, the crowds swelled to “unbearable” levels and the city temporarily closed access to the flower-viewing area.
“We have brought in all available staff, as many outside traffic controllers that we could, more shuttles, and our small City can not sustain crowds of this magnitude,” the City of Lake Elsinore shared on Facebook on Saturday, before the closure. “The wait times are increasing, the shuttles are stuck in traffic, and we encourage you to consider waiting for another day.”
Rain is a key ingredient in the recipe for spectacular wildflower displays, and this winter all of California was drenched as storm after storm swept the state. Botanists predicted wildflowers would pop up, especially in Southern California, because the desert landscape has fewer invasive plants and grasses that push out wildflowers.
Lake Elsinore was the first place to see a so-called “super bloom,” a colloquial term describing wildflower spectacles that exceed a typical season. Anza Borrego was the second spot to experience an abundance of flowers, including Bigelow’s Monkey Flower, purple Sand Verbena, white and yellow Evening Primrose and desert lilies.
The bloom in Lake Elsinore started the last week of February, and now the hillsides are carpeted in velvety orange.
“The color is super vibrant,” Jonathan Reinig, the natural resources manager for Riverside County Parks, told SFGATE. “You fee like you need to shade your eyes from it.”
Photos of the display flooded social media, and Reinig says the county posted signage encouraging shutterbugs to tread lightly around the flowers.
“People love to get out there and get their Instagram photos,” he says. “They’ll plop themselves in the middle and trample the flowers. People need to stay on the path.”
The super bloom was originally met with excitement in the community, which is about a 90-minute drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego.
But problems began surfacing, including people leaving trails and trampling flowers.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/super-bloom-Lake-Elsinore-California-poppies-plane-13700043.php.