like these on Flickr taken just a couple of weeks earlier) - of how fantastic the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve has been this year. We'd also read that mid May is the end of the season, so if we were to experience it, it had to be now!
Now John has very bad knees from years of running, and usually says he doesn't like walking. But he gamely went along on the longest hike possible at the reserve, which turns out to be just about 2.5 miles, which doesn't sound like much, but it took us about 2 hours walking briskly, with many photo-op stops! We went up to 3020 ft at the highest (but then the information center was probably at 2500, so it wasn't as great I suppose.)
But it was wonderful to get out walking. We also took one path down from the highest point that was on the map, but evidently not used as much, because the view is pretty much th same the whole time, instead of walking along a ridge. But we found it like Robert Frost's "road less traveled" with no one else around, just tiny "Desert Spiny Lizards" like skinks, which kept running along the path in front of us, popping into or out of the many animal holes in the path. At one point a bird went running down the path in front of us - maybe a road runner? and three hawks (John says, crows) were playing in the sky around us as they swooped to catch insects for lunch. And all of this was accompanies by the song of larks high in the sky, which we couldn't get our eye on.
On our path less traveled, the poppies closed in on the path, popping up even in th middle of the path, so that in some sections, they formed a center median.
Although we didn't see the incredibly golden fields of the highest season (miid April, I guess, when there has been enough rain) we saw poppies everywhere anyway (not just in the reserve) as well as many other wildflowers, large and small, and enjoyed the stiff 72 degrees breeze in the warming sun.