"Wow. This is really bare from what we usually see," Dr. Charles Blair said as he exited his car on Figueroa Mountain Road. Representing the California Native Plants Society, he was leading over a dozen people on the annual wildflower tour with Ranger Helen Tarbet last Saturday in Los Padres National Forest.
The showing of wildflowers was definitely down -- in previous years, it was said you couldn't even see the ground -- but for a year light in rain, the display of California poppies and grape soda lupine near Figueroa Mountain and Catway roads still had that "wow" factor: attracting crowds who get out of their vehicles and to take and pose for photos. The mountain terrain and Santa Ynez Valley views help, too. Some photos are below:
Another popular spot usually goldfield-covered meadow about a quarter mile east of the Davy Brown trailhead was a bit sparse, but tidy tips could be found in the mix. Only one chocolate lily was spotted.
Other wildflowers noted on the tour were wall flowers, Chinese houses, fiesta flowers, Indian paintbrush, prickly phlox, blue-eyed grass, to name just a handful (more photos below). Ranger Tarbet keeps a tally of where and what she sees and posts updates during wildflower season. The mid-April update can be read here.