The winter of 2023 in California can be described in one word – wet. The media have well-documented the repeated and fierce atmospheric rivers of rain and deep Sierra snowfalls that occurred.
We were fortunate to see the results of this bountiful blast of much-needed moisture during our travels around California this year. While not quite the “super-bloom” often defined by the media, the wildflower bloom was still extraordinary.
The Carrizo Plain National Monument, 120 miles north of where we winter in Carpinteria, was mostly spectacular this year. This remote monument, traversed by the San Andreas Fault, is seen in subtle alignment of ridges, ravines, and normally dry Soda Lake. I spent a day there photographing the prominent features on the monument including the white alkali flats of Soda Lake, vast open grasslands, and the broad plain rimmed by steep mountains.
California Gold Fields (flowers) and Hillside Daisies scattered over the Carrizo Plain

The vast plain looking northwest towards Soda Lake in the distance.

Soda Lake contains brine shrimp, critical food for migrating waterfowl.

The northern hills of the plain. Fiddlenecks in the foreground, poppies and hillside daisies on the hills. This is a very dry, hot plain in mid-summer. Notice the green grasses on the hill tops -- rare, most years.
Top left and top right -- Hillside daisies. Above -Hillside daisies and California poppies mix.
Our favorite mix -- California poppies and lupine. There are 102 species of lupine in California alone.

Baby blue eyes

The rare (and endangered) desert candle.
Looking east from the eastern edge of the Carrizo Plain, the hills just keep getting steeper and steeper. Desert candles, hillside daises and poppies love steep slopes. Note the snow on the San Bernardino mountains. This view is looking towards Los Angles to the upper right.
San Joaquin Blazing Stars.  Missing this year were tidy tips, purple owls clover, blue dicks, bush lupins, and several other species. Although these species did bloom in profusion in other areas in 2023 and they may have also bloomed on the Carrizo Plain later in the season.
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