Carrizo Plain - February 2012
In mid-February we made a Land Cruiser trip to a part of California I had never visited before. To a part of California I hadn't even heard of before. That was the Carrizo Plain - it's a National Monument area to the west of Bakersfield, North of Santa Barbara and East of San Luis Obispo.
As usual people were arriving from different parts of the State at different times - Alvaro, Aerial, John and I from Sacramento, Andre from work in Cupertino via Los Angeles (to pick up Christine), Sam from Sonoma, and Rohitash from the Bay Area. We all arranged to meet at the Selby campground in the Carrizo Plain valley and, surprise, surprise, we all arrived without too much confusion or misunderstanding.
|Andre, Christine, Rohitash, Aerial, Alvaro, Sam at Camp|
The Carrizo Plain is a valley between two mountain ranges. In the middle of the valley is a large salt lake that is surrounded by grasslands - apparently the largest remaining area of untouched grasslands in California. At some point in the 50's I think, they tried to develop the land with housing, but it is a little too remote and while there are signs of layouts for streets there are very few houses there. The latest encroachment is an array of solar panels on the outskirts of the National Monument. All very nice and green, but what a blot on the landscape. On the one side (the Bakersfield side) you have old oil fields and on the west side you have this new solar panel array. In many ways the oil field is more interesting and visually nicer to look at than the solar panels - but then I might be biased.
|The Salt Lake at Carrizo Plain|
|Stream Displaced by San Andreas Fault - can you see it?|
The real draw of the Carrizo Plain is the display of wildflowers in the springtime. For a brief period it is quite spectacular. While we were there in the early spring, this last winter has been so dry that there was nothing at all blooming. However, if you want to see how spectacular it could be - check out this link. It would be worth coming back after a nice wet winter - if we ever get one.
We camped the two nights (Friday and Saturday) at the Selby Campground and then on the Sunday morning we exited over to the west towards San Luis Obispo. We took the scenic route over the hill tops to Pozo and on the way got the chance to exercise the 4-wheel drive a little bit. Lots of fun.
|Aerial, Alvaro, Andre, Christine, John|