Wildflowers in (super)bloom

Spring came a little early this year and a super bloom is in full effect in a few California state parks! The next few weeks will be prime time to see vibrant blooms across California. We asked some of our supporters to share their favorite state parks to visit during wildflower season!
Pg 7 - Candice Rogers-South Yuba River State Park

 

“I love South Yuba River State Park because it embodies the incredible natural beauty of our amazing state!”
– Candice Rogers

 

 

Pg 7 - Wes Janssen - Anza Borrego

“Having spent some time in many spectacular wild places, my informed favorite California state park is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The geologic diversity, what I call ‘rock drama’ in the dramatic lighting of early and late daylight; the natural history; the fascinating plant and animal life, so much of it easily observed. Chuckwalla, phainopepla, peninsular desert bighorn, kangaroo rat, ocotillo, beaver tail cactus, glowing back-lighted cholla, rabbits, quail, raptors, desert ironwood, a panoply of fascinations. Visit between early December and the first week of April, of course. It’s the desert.”
– Wes Janssen

Pg 7 - Jim McGowan-Pigeon Point

 

“I love driving down the 1 in the spring and seeing the wildflowers in bloom around Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. It always makes it feel like summer is right around the corner!”
– Jim McGowan

 

Pg 7 - Michael Stadnick Saddleback Butte State Park

 

“We love Saddleback Butte State Park for its convenient location, beautiful desert scenery including gorgeous spring yellow bloom, the Joshua Trees and unbelievable sun rises and sunsets from the top of the Butte, wildlife (including coyotes, lizards, rabbits, snakes), minimal crowds, nice camping area, and love the nearby Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park!”
– Michael Stadnick

 

pg-7-melissa-potts-lashp.jpg

 

“The wildflower blooms in Los Angeles State Historic State Park bring beautiful scenes for park visitors to enjoy! Spring just feels like the parks are alive as birds, insects and other wildlife are out in the park enjoying the blooms alongside you.”
– Melissa Potts

 

Have you checked out the superbloom this year? Share your photos with us at @calparks on Twitter and Instagram!

My 2019 intention

By Rachel Norton, Executive Director

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Coping with the everyday cares and stresses of parenting, work and life can really wear me down, and one of the promises I made to myself in 2018 was to focus more effort on self-care: eating better, getting enough sleep and exercise – the usual stuff. And I did pretty well at that, most weeks at least.

But in reflecting on the times I felt most joyful last year, I realized there were some common threads: spending time with friends and people I love, of course, and spending time in nature. I’ve written about some of those experiences, like the state parks road trip I took with my mom and sister last summer, and a visit to Mendocino state parks with my daughter. There were other trips, too, like a magical weekend on British Columbia’s Pender Island and three days in the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.

Even when all I can manage to squeeze in is a walk to the beach near my apartment, I always feel happier and calmer afterwards. And it’s not just me . . . it’s science! For example, a 2015 Stanford study found that people who walked for 90 minutes in nature, as opposed to city streets, exhibited decreased activity in a part of the brain associated with depression. In some areas, doctors are even prescribing park visits as a powerful mental and physical health intervention.

Science is great, and yet really all I had to do was go back to the family photo album to remind myself of the joy that nature can bring. The picture at the top of this post is my daughter Jackie, now 19, splashing joyfully in the Tuolumne River when she was around age six. Anyone who has ever experienced a mountain river in June knows that they are ice cold. But that never bothered Jackie, and it never bothered me when I was younger either. (The Pacific Ocean off Northern California beaches is never much warmer than 55 degrees, but I remember splashing happily in the waves at Stinson Beach every Christmastime as a child – you just have to “get used to it,” i.e., get numb. Brrr!)

So, my intention for 2019 is even more simple than the one I made for 2018. It is to remember that I find great joy in nature, just like Jackie. I will hold this picture with me as I explore more of California’s amazing natural spaces, and especially state parks, this year!

What’s your intention for 2019? I’d love to read it in the comments!