Maybe you don’t all live in Southern California, but you sure as hell know someone on Instagram who does, which means that when I write the words “Super Bloom” you probably already know what I’m talking about. It’s this
…just endless ‘What Dreams May Come’ landscapes, pockmarked by the occasional Millennial selfie-taker (who didn’t, for the record, post that on Instagram! Just here).
What you’re looking at above is Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, CA, where after one of the wettest winters in recent memory, fields that would normally host a smattering of flowers have instead EXPLODED with color. And Antelope Valley is just one SoCal hot spot — there’s Anza-Borrego to the southeast, Mugu State Park closer to the ocean. Lots of places to check out. Each is overflowing with wildflowers that aren’t just orange, but yellow, purple, blue…all of which have Latin names but we’re not botanists here or anything so let’s just keep going. Super Bloom!
Antelope Valley is 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, 45 minutes of which are spent on a winding mountain road with just one food stop the whole way. Reception dips out; any non-downloaded S-Town episodes evaporate. It’s remote, is the point! If you’re driving to see those flowers you really want to see those flowers.
You emerge from the mountains into the high desert, where smatterings of roadside poppies give way to more impressively covered embankments. People are getting out of their cars now and readying their DSLRs. You can feel the middle-age excitement in the air, palpable.
And then, in the distance: ORANGE. Huge bands of orange, tarps across the hillside, looking from a half-mile off like a scene from some Cheetos-branded bible story. It is truly epic, the kind of vision that validates the entire trip. Sure, you’re the kind of dork who heard the words “Super Bloom” and gassed up the car. Maybe you even threw this on before you headed out the door!
But goddamnit — it was worth it.
I suppose one never expects to be 30 years old (…at all, let alone) driving into the high desert in search of f***ing flowers. You should be at Coachella, or at least firing off another barbed tweet about a problematic Pepsi commercial! But wandering through those poppy fields — even in occasional lock-stop behind Doris and Hank Flugman — offers a rare and unique experience.
Consider this: for SUPER BLOOM to take place requires so many things lining up just right, from the volume of rain to the consistency with which it falls to the temperature range over a series of months. It’s highly unlikely we’re seeing drone footage like this next spring!
But that’s what makes this flowery moment special, right? In a world so automated and on-demand, there are these…natural art installations (remember this?) out there, completely un-beholden to your schedule. They’re gonna be there — or not — with or without you there as witness.
So witness them! Join the Instagram scavenger hunt (which, miraculously, feels less craven than communal when everyone has to wear wide-brim hats)! This Super Bloom is around for a limited time only and then…well, who knows when it’ll be back. This ain’t the McRib, people. It’s flowers. And they’re pretty as shit.