Saturday, April 15, 2017

Carrizo Plains Super Bloom 2017!

Carrizo Plains Super bloom ... 

If you are into wildflowers, you know that a super bloom at Carrizo Plains is huge! Seeing central California’s Carrizo Plains National Monument in bloom has been on my Bucket list for years.   Drought & proximity have been the problem in past years but with a super bloom this year, I made a 15 hour trek to see the bloom.   It was past peak in many areas but I was not disappointed!

I had trouble finding the Hurricane / Crocker Springs Road thru the Temblor range on the east side. Stopped a guy in a Jeep in the area of the petro facilities outside of Taft but sadly his directions lead me to the paved entry via CA-33 /CA-58.   I really wanted to go thru the Temblor mountain 4wd road but I certainly was not disappointed on the paved route as winding up the green hills on CA-58 then looking over the San Joaquin valley & descending again with yellows on both sides of the road. It was absolutely beautiful!

I went down 7 Mile Rd to Elkhorn road that parallels the base of the mountains on the east side of the park to Wallace creek to see the San Andreas fault (not overly exciting) & then down to a closed gate with a trail up into the hills.  (There were many cars parked here so it was easy to find.)  The trial split and you could stay along the base of the hills or go high… I went high and was rewarded with incredibly beautiful views.  I heard someone describe Carrizo Plains as the place ‘where God spilled the paint buckets’ and it certainly seemed that way with yellows, oranges and purple’s painting the hillsides.  Just breathtaking! (Top pic is from that trail)
There are folks on that lower trail

The high road trail
After I returned back, the day was waning & I opted to head back down to Simmler road and cross over the plain to Soda Lake road.  The flowers here were knee high, abundant and beautiful even though they were past peak.  I was able to stop and get a couple of pics at Soda Lakes before the sun dropped behind the hills.  The glimmer of the yellows at twilight on the trip over 7 Mile Rd and up CA-58 and the lights of the valley capped a fine first trip to this National Monument!  

Golda the Adventure Dog enjoying the Super bloom!

From the plain looking east towards the Temblor Range

Checking out the Soda Lakes

Notes: The  flower hotline suggested that Elkhorn road required a high clearance vehicle.  The roads were dry on my visit and all of the sections that I drove on were easily accessible by passenger cars.  

If you have Instagram check out #CarrizoPlains … there are lots of great pics out there right now & be sure to follow me @HisWonders & @On_DaRoad  

Sunday, August 28, 2016


It started as just a short simple hike to a nearby waterfall.  I thought it would be a good idea to gauge my readiness on something simple before attempting a strenuous hike later in the week.   It all started off great.  Who knew Arkansas had so many types of fungi!?   I was fascinated by all the fungi & lichens on the forest floor.   It took me forever to get the .8 miles to the waterfall because I took so many shroom pics. When I made it to the waterfall ..  I was a bit disappointed to find a dripping ledge of a waterfall.  As I started to take a few pics, an ‘unscheduled’ downpour started and I took shelter under a large rock ledge a bit past the waterfall and its little stream.  When under the ledge I checked my weather app & sure enough they said it was partly cloudy with no rain .. nice.   As I waited the 15 – 20 minutes for the rain to slow down I noticed a few things.   The first being that I was on the edge of a huge overhang & the waterfall that I had seen was clearly not “the waterfall”  and in order to see “the waterfall” I had to move around the ledge & down.   This is how the “Thought-o-log” went once the rain stopped….

A little protection from the rain.
Hmmm …  the trail blazes stop here.. surely there should be a blaze beyond this little muddy stream.   Nope … no blaze… no trail….  Trails are overrated.   I think I can move through this brush and get down to where I can see the falls.  Oh… I think that might be poison something..   Ouch!!!  Dang these rocks are slippery when wet.  Its just a little ledge .. ouch, oh that’s a lot of mud!  Good thing I left my hiking boots IN THE CAR where they are nice & dry!  Oh oh! Jumping and flailing, jumping & flailing I hope that spider is not in my hair!    Oh that fall isn’t as pretty as I hoped, but if I hang off the this tree I might be able to get a pic of both… or not.   
Now how did I get down here?    Oh uh,  I feel itchy.. I think that might have been poison something. Don’t rub your eyes don’t rub your eyes.   Dang its so hot & humid I think my eyelids are sweating and its going in my eyes!!  Wow that little stream has sure grown from the run-off.  Sure wish I had worn those boots.  Oh good the trail!   I LOVE TRAILS!  Glad I  missed that web!   Crap..REALLY!?   How close together can spiders live?!  And how quickly can spiders build these huge webs anyway, I was just here an hour ago?   Oh thank goodness the car..  Pizza .. oh pizza sounds great…   Don’t judge me gas station pizza lady… yes I know I have leaves stuck to the mud on my legs ..  I am okay with that.  It’s the spiders I am concerned about.   Fine be a judger ..  I will take my dollars elsewhere.

And so went my first foray into the Arkansas forest.  I think I might have to rethink that strenuous hike .. this time!  For more pics see His Wonders FB page under "Fun in the Forest".

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Day on the Road

Kansas, Nebraska??  Nope New Mexico!
Left dear friends in North Texas with prayers & hugs.  Headed through silent oil fields and navigated a flock of tumbleweeds.  Got buzzed by a crop duster doing acrobatics as he dusted his fields.  Talked to an old friend.  Watched the oil fields give way to crops.  Pondered the differences between west Texas, north Texas & the Texas area designated “national grassland” but found non.  Saw some cowboys.  Honked the horn as I crossed the state line.  Which prompted loud singing of the Dixie Chicks “Heartbreak town”.  Made the change from the playlist of my mind to an actual playlist and did an awesome “Cowboy Take me Away” duet with the Dixie Chicks.  Pondered why New Mexico looked so much like grassland … even without the official designation.   Felt like I was on the Nebraska or Kansas plains. Saw lots of sunflowers.   Honked the horn when changed time zones too. It is sort of cool to get to redo an hour … plus I kind of just like to honk the horn. 

Always good to ck the rearview.
I took pictures through my rearview mirror, watched a thunderstorm cross the plains and as B.B. sang about the Thrill being gone, I decided the thrill of anticipating what is over the next rise in the road will never be gone.  Once a road warrior always a road warrior, you can change the size of the wheels but the thrill remains the same.

Passed through a couple gully washers & was happy to lose of some of the bugs on the windshield. 

Woo hoo Mountains!
Then we saw foothills! The terrain quickly changed from wide-open grassy plains to a winding, sunflower lined mountain road with a creek crisscrossing our path.  Deer grazed off the side of the road and a couple of blue birds raced us around a curve.  Big Daddy Weave’s “Overwhelmed” came up on the playlist  “Captivated by Your beauty, I am overwhelmed by you”.  Overwhelmed …  Overwhelmed indeed!  Being a mountain girl, there is nothing like the beauty of the mountains.

Mtns & sunflowers

With storms forecast for the evening, I opted to forgo any chance for drama and I dished out the extra dough to have a roof over our heads rather than the stars.   It was a good choice.  As I sit down to write on my little cabin porch, the air is crisp, the aspen are quaking in the wind, hummers are buzzing about, the sound of a harmonica playing softly fills the air and Dog is laying peacefully at my feet.  Couldn’t ask for a more perfect ending to our day on the road.

Any place run by Ducky's relatives is alright by me!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

FAQ #3: Where is the most favorite place you have been?

Rving in Canada
Canadian Rockies

People always ask me about money & mail and then this question (or a variation of it), always follows - "Where is the most favorite place you have been?".   I think this one is the toughest questions to answer as my most favorite place is usually wherever  I am at the moment.   Every place seems to have something special about it, whether you are in Barrow, AK , the tip of Texas,  Keywest, FL or anyplace in between.  The bottomline is that North America is an amazingly diverse and beautiful place to explore and I have been so blessed to have spent a decade on wheels exploring it.   I recently started a new company called His Wonders to highlight through pictures and gifts some of the incredible scenery that can be found throughout the US and Canada but much of the time even the best pictures don't do justice to a location.  My hope is always that my pictures will encourage you to go check a place out for yourself.  But back to my favorite place.   I can't pick just one, but some of my most favorites starting from north to south would be: the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone, the San Juan Mountain area of Colorado, Southern Utah and the central coast of California plus about 20 other places that would follow close behind!  
RVIng in CA
California Central Coast
The important thing to remember is that what is amazing to me may not be the same as what is amazing to you.  So get out there and do some exploring and have some adventures and then come back here and share with me what your favorite places are!


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