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Carrizo Plain Meet-up Mar-Apr

A forum to initiate member meet-up. Looking for a hiking/climbing/fishing/skiing/etc. partner, or are you planning a trip where you wouldn't mind having some company? Last minute invites can be just as fun as a well-planned group trip (sometimes even better) so don't be shy! And be sure to post a trip report to the appropriate forum when you get back.

Re: Carrizo Plain Meet-up Mar-Apr

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:59 pm

Hi Erica,

Thanks for coming back and supplying us with this information. How was Shell Creek? Was it a mix of colors or predominately yellow? Did the hills have a mix of yellow and orange? Any photos?
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Re: Carrizo Plain Meet-up Mar-Apr

Postby maiathebee » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:39 am

I was out that way 4/1. I drove down Shell Creek Rd to HWY 58, then east to 7 mile, then south on Elkhorn Road for about 10 miles. I hiked up a couple washes near the most crayola part of the hills. Shell Creek road was blooming but nothing like the plain itself / the Temblor Range. I posted some photos on this post in another subforum: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15694&p=117771#p117771
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Re: Carrizo Plain Meet-up Mar-Apr

Postby SSSdave » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:05 pm

17600x6000 pixel stitch blend

Returned home Thursday evening 4/7 after my second long wildflower road trip to Southern California over the last few weeks. Was at Carrizo Friday 3/31(windy), Saturday 4/1, and Sunday 4/2 while breezes were unusually light per forecast with sunny skies. Then drove way out to Joshua Tree before hitting Carrizo again 4/6 when skies were fully cloudy and storm approaching with breezy forecasts now through Monday. Tuesday looks like the next light breeze day before yet another stormy period continues into the Easter weekend. For any serious landscape photographers, key is being there on a day with sunny skies to bring out strong natural flower color and light breezes so foregrounds are not blurred. It did not rain at all during this current storm that was a dud to the south. Would recommend going during work week because driving the dirt roads become a horrible dust fest on weekends.

On very windy Friday 3/31 per forecast just explored roads to see what it looked like. Took quick look at Shell Creek (also on 4/6) that is no where close to good years like this from 2005.


Have previously been to Carrizo in 2003 2005 2006 2010 and 2015, going into the Temblor Range in 2006 and 2010.


Frank Kee's "God Spilled The Paint" image that made an impact posted on early Facebook was taken in March 2005, the wettest year there and over much of Southern California the last couple decades. That canyon was mobbed during my visit because it is one of two with gates that have easy to hike 4wd roads into them. Another nearby canyon also has a jeep road and also had numbers of cars parked at its trailhead each time I passed by. A third canyon with strong color, the most northerly along Elkhorn Road just beyond the bend also had lots of cars parked at its trailhead with many hiking up into the hills even mid week. I've been to all those canyons in the past. Between the Earthquake Fault exhibit at Wallace Creek and Hurricane Road are 16 northeast trending canyons, most of which I'd bet have had virtually no explorers this spring while visitors just go to the above 3.

12300x8500 pixel stitch blend

I hiked up 3 canyons all of which were spectacular and need to return to the one I visited 4/6 because it was cloudy making colors dull. Destroyed it on the 2 sunny calm days. Each hike was a few miles round trip with well over 1k feet of vertical. All 3 of my canyons were virtually untracked by anyone as vegetation tracks would be obvious. Outside the 2 trails with 4wd roads, the rest are awkward hikes with unstable footing often wading through knee to chest high flower jungles (like itchy fiddleneck), bushwhacking by saltbush, and monkeying through erosion gullies at canyon bottoms. Thus wear long pants. These are badlands and the canyon walls can be too steep to climb including cliffs often with few ways past choke points thus dangerous if one does not have a topographic map. Early to mid mornings are when breezes are usually lightest so to get up to the most colorful areas, one needs to start hiking at sunrise.

One other thing. The orange patches are not California poppies but rather San Joaquin blazing star (below pic). There are small patches of poppies all over that are noticeably brighter orange and fiddleneck are also an even duller orange.


If NWS forecasts hold, could be back on the road with a short trip by late tomorrow afternoon and drive down to Bakersfield and up the Kern over Walker Pass for one morning there. Then drive back west out to CPNM in afternoon in order to Tuesday to go back up the canyon per above I explored Thursday then drive home Wednesday after a morning session.

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Re: Carrizo Plain Meet-up Mar-Apr

Postby Rockyroad » Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:54 pm

Since I had Friday off, I drove down to Carrizo again for a short day hike. The crowds were slightly larger than 2 weeks ago, but still not as bad as expected. I passed a car going the opposite direction on Elkhorn about every couple minutes. The phacelia are past their peak as some are starting to turn brown. Still, the flowers were spectacular.


More photos here: https://sites.google.com/site/mytrailmi ... ildflowers
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