Discovering a Whole New World, Just Outside My Back Door

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Her bright orange petals were tucked in, close to her body, like a cape ready to unfurl. She stood tall and proud. A single, regal-looking California Poppy, mostly protected from the warm, late spring sunshine. She may well have been striving to be the last poppy standing, and I think she might make it! She just might be that last pop of color that symbolizes springtime in the California hills of Wind Wolves Preserve.

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In terms of flowers and blankets of poppies and lupines, spring in California’s central valley is pretty short-lived. Luckily, the beauty of the wildflowers at WWP is really just the icing on the cake! Robin and I spent three hours there this morning, running and hiking (a little of one and a lot of the other…but that’s not really important!). It was my second visit, having gone with the guys just a few weeks ago and, unbelievably, it was her first! How, we asked ourselves over and over, had we never been here before this spring? We both are runners and hikers, nature lovers at heart. We shook our heads in disbelief and agreed that it’s now our responsibility to share this gem with our friends and neighbors.

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We got an early start, knowing the day would be warm, and knowing that the Second-Annual Nature Festival would bring a larger number of visitors to the property. During the first half of our trip, we were on our own with the singing birds, a few lizards, a quail, and the occasional rustling of leaves near the trail. We could have been anywhere! And with no telephones, Facebook, or emails to distract us, we really did feel a thousand miles away.

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While we explored just over 10 miles of the trails, some in the warm sun and some in the cool shade, our legs got a workout and our minds got a re-set. We let our imaginations wander to the days when the San Emigdio Canyon was the main passage for wagons traveling between Southern California and The San Joaquin Valley. We stopped a few miles in for a picnic of almonds, fig newton cookies, and orange honey stinger gels. It was pretty delightful!

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As much as we rejoiced in the early morning quiet, it made me happy to see groups of people enjoying the trails while we headed back to trailhead. Sometimes it’s special to know a secret. In this case, it’s even better to share the secret with people who know it and love it like I do!

The Wind Wolves Preserve Nature Festival continues tomorrow, March 29. If you go, get an early start, take a camera, plenty of water, and maybe even a picnic! And if you love it like I do…spread the word!
http://www.wildlandsconservancy.org/wwp_naturefestival2015.html

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