Sunday, April 15, 2007

No Reservations Required

In the Tejon Pass in Southern California, variously known as the “ridge route” north from Los Angeles, or just the Grapevine, the town of Gorman nestles among hills prone to explosions of wildflowers in the spring.

I’ve seen these hills covered in snow, and I’ve seen them richly carpeted with purple lupine, yellow mustard, orange California poppies, dotted with red and blue and white from other flowers. Every spring brings a different palette, sometimes richer, sometimes just a dusting.

Skies yesterday were overcast as I headed north, so colors were muted, but the hills were definitely in bloom. No telling whether it’ll get richer or fade as we wander on through April.

The orange smudge up near the ridge here may be a field of poppies. The purple in most of these pictures will be lupine. It’s really striking and beautiful on green grass lush from spring rain. The poppy field scene in The Wizard of Oz was filmed not far from here, in a preserve my mom visited when she was a girl and remembered the rest of her life.

These hills aren’t a preserve, just part of the free entertainment for truckers and tourists headed north into the Central Valley on California’s longest highway.

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