Shuwen and I went for a quick weekend road-trip, with our main destination being Carrizo Plain National Monument – it had been 6 years since we’ve visited it at a good time in Spring, in 2011 (blog post: Carrizo Plain National Monument). We also drove through during our April 2016 road-trip, but it was too late in the season and everything was pretty dry and brown already.
This year, after the wet winter, it was almost a bit too early for the most intense wildflower displays, it seemed. Nevertheless, everything is lush and green right now, at the southern end in particular the hills are covered in yellow, and in the center of the plain is an enormous expanse of Phacelias that is absolutely astonishing.
On our first visit we drove in from the north, last year in April and this year from the south. I like the south approach better: the entrance is somewhat narrow because the monument is actually split into two plains here – Carrizo Plain itself and east of it Elkhorn Plain – separated by the Elkhorn Scarp and Elkhorn Hills. As you drive in, Soda Lake Road climbs a little bit, and then this vast expanse of empty landscape opens up in front of you. No photo can capture and transport what this landscape evokes – the feelings of peace, serenity, and one’s own insignificance are almost overwhelming in the sight of this majestic grandeur…
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