It’s official. The ‘super bloom’ is back in California.
It feels like only yesterday that the entire state was headed for the flower fields to experience the super bloom resulting from the drought-ending El Niño rains of the 2016/17 winter. Californians jumped for joy as three of the driest years on record were followed by the wettest winter ever on record. Just like that the reservoirs were full and the entire state erupted with vegetation growth, even out in the driest areas of the desert.
Well, after a one year hiatus, we experienced another wet winter in California, resulting in another impressive flower bloom all around the state.
The plethora of flowers has drawn a lot of attention and created some interesting scenes in the blooming hot spots.
The media attention, which in my opinion gets blown out of proportion, creates a craze and fascination that surrounds the super bloom. It’s as if the media outlets that don’t have a generic super bloom story are doomed. As if Instagram models’ cashflow will dry up if they are not photographed in a colorful field of flowers.
Just google ‘super bloom’ and you’ll find articles on USA Today, BBC, NPR, CNN, Fox News and The Guardian, to name a few. Search #superbloom on Instagram and you will see a pretty hilarious swath of photos, my personal favorites being a woman playing a violin in the flowers, an LA Instagram model getting berated in the comments for trampling flowers, and a guy photoshopping himself into the flower field (and I didn’t even scroll that far down).
Many of the articles contain little-to-no substance and some even paint pictures of dramatic scenarios unfolding among the crowds, which I feel may be a little sensationalized. The poppy bloom at Lake Elsinore in Riverside County definitely stole the show as far as online attention, with reports of traffic gridlock, overcrowding, and rattlesnake bites grabbing the headlines. Our bloom in San Diego County’s Anza Borrego was not as rowdy or scandalous, but still spectacular in its own right, nonetheless.
The result of this constant media attention? Everyone that has watched the news or checked social media over the past month has been inundated with super bloom content. It leads to a mass exodus of people in a short time window to these fairly remote parts of the state, reminiscent of the traffic to a summertime county fair. With many people who are not typically the outdoorsy types sprinkled in with the regular hikers, it definitely makes for an interesting crowd.
Despite my lamenting of flower stories saturating the internet, I must admit that witnessing a vibrant springtime bloom beneath the bone-dry, towering mountains of the desert is pretty spectacular. Having already made a few trips out to Anza Borrego State Park this winter and spring, I also had the urge to go witness the flower blooms the first chance I got a free weekend in March.
Without further ado, here is my Anza Borrego flower report for March 17, 2019.
All in all, the ‘super bloom’ once again did not disappoint. And I was actually pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of crowds. I remember sitting in heavy traffic getting back to San Diego in 2017, but this time we scooted over the mountains in no time.
Growing up in northern California, I didn’t know jackshit about the desert when I was younger. We probably even turned our noses up to it, wondering what would ever lead someone to live in such a place. I spent many summers frequenting the community swimming pools and retirement track housing of Coachella Valley’s Palm Desert during visits to the grandparents. I was ignorant to the beauty of the desert that was hidden in plain sight, or maybe I just didn’t care.
Anyway, after moving to the desert’s edge in San Diego, I’ve grown fond of its many hidden treasures over the past few years. The super blooms are a great piece of the puzzle to the desert’s beauty, but it’s just a piece. I encourage the super bloom visitors to return to the desert, put their shoes in the dirt, and explore some of the other gems that it has to offer even when it’s not flower season (an Anza Borrego slot canyon is a great way to start!).
P.s. If you are looking for flowers in Anza Borrego, visit their flower site.