The last time we met here I told you I was going on a poppy hunt! After three months of steady winter rain I now enjoy driving along the highways and byways, singing, “The hills are alive!” Lupine, wild mustard and orange poppies, as well as colorful wildflowers I can’t readily identify, dot the local hillsides.
My cousin, Pamela, initiated this little trip, generously taking time from her responsibilities in order to celebrate my birthday. I won’t
admit mention my age, but let’s just say that this month I checked off a milestone birthday and I now carry around a newly-issued dentification card.
Pam and I have a very close, sisterly bond, but it’s been years and years since we’ve gone off to spend a few days together without our husbands also being part of our vacationing. This was going to be fun!
Mid-morning I picked her up at Burbank Airport and we headed out in search of poppies.
Although Chino Hills State Park is only 25 miles from my home, I didn’t even know it existed. I do now and I’m so pleased!
Off in the distance we were lured to promises of gold.
Hills on every side teased promises of poppies fields, so persevere we did!
Armed with our hats, water, sunblock and sensible shoes we weren’t afraid of a little elevation. Except for one thing!
It was hot! After weeks of wet and cold, Southern California broke out in blindingly bright 90-degree sunshine! It was hot for me, but Pam hails from the Bay Area where this kind of heat is about as aberrational as snow!
We’ll just pretend it isn’t hot as heck and high noon!
Patience, or stubborness, kept us going and we were rewarded with even more beautiful color!
We walked and walked and climbed and searched, hoping to get close enough to touch them.
From a blog post we’d read before the trip we seemed to think there was a path through the poppy fields. We hoped to get a little closer.
Still…ninety degrees? At some point we cried “uncle” and turned around, content that we had enjoyed a perfect 360 degree view of these beautiful poppy-studded hills. Green hills, by the way. Now there’s a color I have missed!
We happened upon park employees involved in their trail path maintenance duties so we asked them for directions to the hiking trail “through the poppy fields,” to which we were kindly and patiently advised, “There are no Wizard of Oz poppy fields.” The poppies surrounded us on every hillside, but unless we were up to scaling the hills like mountain goats…
Oh. You mean we walked an extra hour because of someone’s blog post photos?
Yes. I think the author of the blog post we were using as a map had a high-powered lens giving the impression that the meadows were close enough to touch. So if you’d like to follow our lead, you may not need to hike very far.
Measure your time and stamina. This is Southern California and the hiking is energizing, but maybe not at noon?
After a couple of hours we conceded to the heat and headed to the coast.
Somehow fog in my own neighborhood is just damp air, while fog at the ocean’s edge is mysterious and beautiful. A lovely stay in La Jolla, a hilly seaside community in San Diego, was perfect.
Harbor seals pupping, cormorants nesting, brown pelicans…
I am still smiling, with more to share soon.