California Poppy Reserve
Narrated by Russ Christoff
Fifteen miles west of Lancaster, I found the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
This area is dedicated to preserving over 1,700 acres of open space, and the protection of California's state flower, the California Poppy.
During the months of March, April and May, visitors flock to this area to view the intensely orange blossoms found here, in what is considered to be the most consistent Poppy bearing land in California.
I visited on Easter weekend, and I wasn't alone.
A good rainfall early in the month had produced conditions that were favorable. Poppies and other spring wildflowers were blooming in abundance.
Wildflower lovers were out in droves and hiking the reserve's seven miles of trails. Even the cold winds that whipped across the hills did not deter them.
The poppies were doing their best to cooperate with anxious photographers who were trying to get the perfect shot.
The California Poppy is a fragile spring flower and is very sensitive to cold temperatures, rainfall and light.
On cold windy days their blossoms close for protection from the elements. In some years, when conditions are unfavorable, wildflower bloom will vary.
If you plan to visit the reserve, call ahead to find out if they're flowering.
The Poppy Reserve at Antelope Valley is also home to other spring wildflowers.
That weekend I saw Owl's Clover, Lupine and Goldfields growing side by side with Poppies.
These wildflowers like the California Poppies are protected by law so that they may be enjoyed by all who visit.
At the visitors center, people were signing up for guided tours of the area.
Named for conservationist and artist Jane Pinheiro, the center contains displays and a video that informs the public about the flowers found in the park, and the importance of preserving unspoiled California open spaces, like this one.