LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) — For the past two springs, bright orange California poppies covered the hills around Lake Elsinore as far as the eye could see.
Poppies bloom in the fields of Antelope Valley in Lancaster, California on March 30, 2019. (Photo by Agustin Paullier/AFP via Getty Images)
“I was wondering, ‘When is it gonna happen,’” Rebecca Kuzelka, a Lake Elsinore resident, said. “So it’s not, huh?”
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And with mostly purple petals, a few yellow flowers and just one sprig of bright orange in Walker Canyon, it does not seem likely that the epic super bloom events that covered 1,600 acres of hillsides along the 15 Freeway in years past will get a repeat in 2021.
“That’s so sad,” Kuzelka said. “It was so great for people who came out.”
And come out they did. Thousands of people descended on the area last spring and the spring before, jamming up traffic for miles.
By Southern California standards, 2019 was an impressive year for rainfall with 20 inches falling that winter. Coupled with elevated wind and cooler temperatures, it set the stage for 2019’s impressive bloom.
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Groups of people walk among blooming California poppies in a field along Lancaster Blvd. on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 in Lancaster, CA. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
“I took so many photos,” Kuzelka said of 2019. “The dog sitting in the middle of them. Pictures of me sitting down in them.”
So many people came out, the city shut down access to the canyon.
The first week it bust out, I drove to church,” Kuzelka said. “Took me an hour and a half to get home, because I kept trying different routes. They were blocked.”
This winter, the region has only gotten about 4 1/4 inches of rain — leading to mostly dry brush and fewer photographers looking for the perfect shot to post to Instagram.
But that’s just fine for Kuzelka and her dog, Base.
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“We just like to be out she said,” she said. “The flowers were just a plus.”