C. catalinae along Figueroa Mountain Road – 20 April 2016.
Grass Mountain, 20 April 2016.
My garden view at the Wine Valley Inn. Solvang, CA – 20 April 2016.
I went on another spontaneous Calochortus adventure! I kept seeing these beautiful photographs of the poppy bloom on Grass Mountain and was hoping to see it, but missed it. (It’s okay though because I really went to see Calochortus catalinae or Catalina Mariposa Lily.)
I flew standby to Santa Barbara (SBA) and first drove to Big 5 Sporting Goods to obtain my California Adventure Pass. The daily pass cost $5 and is required to explore the Los Padres National Forest. (You can order it online; my trip was too spontaneous to do so.) I then headed to Solvang, CA. Solvang is a Danish town in the Santa Ynez Valley, a.k.a. wine country.
I went to Solvang Brewing Company for a light dinner and had salmon lox smorrebrod. It was delicious. Afterwards I returned to my hotel, the Wine Valley Inn, for a wine tasting featuring wines from the Santa Ynez Valley. (From what I could tell, wineries in this particular region do not charge an arm and a leg for wine tastings.) I couldn’t make complete sentences after a certain point so I returned to my room and passed out. Luckily I remembered to set my alarm for 5am and luckily I woke up feeling fine and well-rested.
And then I took a short drive to Los Olivos and started my journey to find C. catalinae on Figueroa Mountain Road. It didn’t take me long to find them – they were showing off their beauty right along the side of the road! Hiking wasn’t even required! I did hike a bit though. Most of the petals had a pinkish or lavender hue, but some were mostly white. Their blood red markings with yellow hairs, was to me, the most beautiful part of the flower. There is a Figueroa Mountain wildflower report compiled every two weeks by a Los Padres National Forest employee.
The trip was a success, perfect really, and I can’t wait to go back. Until next time…