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January 8, 2009
A fabulous free activity is to take a day trip to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and what could be more local than California's own state flower? The Reserve is located 15 miles west of Lancaster at 15101 Lancaster Road. This is the place where Dorothy fell asleep in the Wizard of Oz. I saw several Dorothys and even a Tin Man there for portraits on the day I was visiting.
My friend Jennifer and I took a wonderfully relaxing road trip one day last spring to see the poppies in bloom en masse and practice some amateur photography (all on this post are mine). I'm used to mountain meadows, but I had never seen any area so filled with wildflowers. It boggles the mind that such a scenic natural landscape is only an hour and a half away from my citified neighborhood.
The best visiting season is generally from mid-March to mid-May, but you can call the Wildflower Bloom Information Poppy Reserve Wildflower Hotline at 661-724-1180 to find out what conditions are like when you're ready to go.
Other than the gas required to get there, the only cost involved is a per-vehicle parking fee of $5 or less. No dogs or mountain bikes are allowed. Be sure to wear sunblock and watch out for snakes (long pants are a great idea). There are plenty of picnic tables, so pack your own lunch, but bring extra water for hiking.
I even used a few of these images to create cards and magnets for sale on zazzle.com. To see my products, go here.