We found the poppies!

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.


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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.

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36 thoughts on “We found the poppies!

    • The poppies are really special, aren’t they? I’m glad you stopped by for a visit. I just went to your blog and I am quite interested in all of your sewing projects and expertise! I have recently been thinking that I’d like to sew again…it’s been years! Recent retirement encourages me to think it may be possible. 🙂

      • I just planted a few poppies in my garden….a whole 18 seedlings! ;-D
        I, for my part, got interested in your blog because of your garden conversion. I am also at the point where i have to re-think the roses I have been nurturing for two decades since we bought this house…but in 20 years the climate has changed so much that i can just not keep them healthy any more )-;

  1. I have embarked on midday treks – hot, hot, hot – but, oh-so-beautiful! Your determination and sense of adventure paid off. I’m so appreciative that you posted these photos and told us about your poppy adventure and La Jolla. La Jolla is a spot of long ago family adventures. Your photos bring back such sweet family memories.
    Maybe it is best that you and Pam turned back. Poppy fields can be soperific, just ask Dorothy and Toto. 🙂
    Happy Belated Birthday, Debra (and welcome to the “club”). 🙂

    • I do think that joining “the club” added to my determination not to give up, Penny! LOL! I was NOT going to admit defeat. 🙂 I am so glad I could rekindle fond memories of your family time in the San Diego area, remembering that your dad was stationed there, if I’m correct! It’s such a wonderful part of the state, and now that I’ve discovered (also new to me) that La Jolla has the harbor seal sanctuary I think it’s almost a certainty we’ll need to return every year in early spring!

      • Debra, you are indeed correct. My dad was stationed in San Diego during WWII and my mother took the train that connects your state with mine to visit him in CA. They were newly married when he was drafted into the Navy.
        You, my dear friend, will never guess what I came across today looking for something else today. There, among the many old photos, was a little scrapbook of pictures from San Diego, Mexico, and . . . La Jolla! My dad wrote on the backs of the photos where they were and the date. There is one photo in particular, my dad pointing toward the ocean, and it looks very much like the seal beach. Tom saw the photo, later in the day, and remarked that it looked like the beach we took the girls go and where a seal brushed up and swam around our Katy.

  2. Beautiful! We’re just beginning to see crocuses here. So delightful to be able to see poppies. Also, happy to see California receiving much needed rain. Hugs to you Debra!

    • So nice to hear from you, Karen. I hope that you are doing well? And also nice to picture you with signs of spring after the late winter storms! The rain has been so reassuring and the landscape is rejoicing! I haven’t seen this much green in years. And the poppies are a wonderful bonus! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. As Crush (from Nemo) would say . . . “Happy Hatch Day, Deborah!” Glad you got to spend some time with your cousin while wandering the hills and enjoying the coast.

    Loved your photo shares.

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes, Nancy. I’ve managed to celebrate in one way or another over the last two weeks. 🙂 I am so pleased to now know this state park and wonder what surprises it may offer other times of year. La Jolla is really the cherry on top!

    • I really did enjoy the opportunity! I’m not a seasoned hiker. I wish this was something I’d avidly pursued while younger, but anytime I can be outdoors, that’s where I want to be! We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and I hope you can find that time for yourself!

  4. I grew up not far from the Chino Hills. Your beautiful photos remind me of the many strolls I took through our local hills and on nearby pristine land that had originally been part of the Yorba Rancho and is now in the city of Yorba Linda. Even back then, I cherished those views of rolling hills without a single house in sight. Thanks for the memories.

    • I love hearing this, Lori. It was completely new to me! Now that I know, I can’t imagine not returning frequently. So often the areas where we hike, and it’s not that often, are much further west from where we live, so to find Chino Hills as such a spectacular destination just thrills me. I seem to remember when instead of housing developments, strawberry fields were prominent! We loved our hiking, but next time, I hope I time it better for temps a little less harsh. LOL!

    • I felt like I just had to give a hint of what La Jolla offered us in being so close to spring wildlife baby season. 🙂 Thank you, Amy. I am glad you stopped by!

    • Thank you so much, Kate. I’m delighted to be sharing! At first I was so focused on the poppies because they were the main focus of the treasure hunt, but then when I took note of the green hills I was amazed! I haven’t seen green hills in a few years. I’m luxuriating in this spring beauty for as long as it lingers…which may not be that long! LOL!

  5. It appears the winter rain brought out the greener to go with the colorful flowers. Very impressive … plus always love the seals. Meanwhile, a toast to your birthday … and glad to note you got your driver’s license!

  6. So happy to hear you have all been getting some much needed rain! I’ve been seeing all of my SoCal friends’ pictures of flowers…everyone’s happy to see so much green and life again! The tulips that come in every spring have started to bloom by the side of our house :). Makes me happy every year! I feel like I’m meeting old friends again…you would love them!!

  7. What a beautiful sight those poppies are, they reminded me of a painting by Monet entitled unsuprisingly “The Poppies” (Les Coqueliquots) although his are red rather than orange.

  8. So much green too Debra, it sounds like an adventure! One of my favorite places to hike was at Torrey Pines State Park so many paths and many lead to the Pacific. I would go later afternoon and finish with sunset. Happy trails.

  9. I am so happy you found the poppies. I’m in northern California where we are expecting a super bloom any day now. They’re saying mid April through May. We’re still getting rain though so perhaps more delays. It will be worth the wait. Your photos are gorgeous! Sorry to hear about the heat, though. That’s no fun at all.

  10. Hi Debra,
    I was reading your blog and ready to comment when my daughter asked to use the computer for “one quick second.” When I got back, I discovered that she’d clicked off the browser. Lucky me, I remembered to Google “airport,” “poppies,” “husbands,” and “California.” Found you!

    What a beautiful place to visit. Love the poppies!


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