Late Poppies on North Table Mountain

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I missed the main bloom in beautiful volcanic landscape of North Table Mountain, near Chico, California. But luckily there were a few lingering poppies to spice up the scene.

I took this photograph on a 2013 trip to North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, near Oroville, California. The trip the year before was so perfect that some friends and I decided to try to make it an annual trek. However, this year was far drier. As a result, the many stunning waterfalls, including Phantom Falls (the park’s primary attraction) had almost completely dried up. But the trip wasn’t a total loss – the wildflowers were a bit better this year. A dry year usually means an early bloom, so I was surprised to see more flowers than the previous year. But so many other factors influence the bloom, predicting based on only one variable is futile. It was primarily the California Poppies which stood out as the “best in show” flowers, and I was looking for a nice composition the whole time. Near the very end of the trip, when the sunlight was fading and turning gold, I found this bunch of poppies, which looked as if they had been purposefully planted among the basalt rubble. They seemed so perfectly manicured that I couldn’t help but feature them.

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