California is back and the proof is in the poppies

There's something amazing happening in Southern California that you will want to see if you have the chance. Poppies have exploded into spectacular bursts of color, indicating an end to the drought. In the Antelope Valley in Northern Los Angles County just off of exit Highway 14, brilliant orange fields of poppies blanket the hillsides. More poppies than you can imagine, acres and acres of poppies, football fields of poppies. You might think that you stepped into a dream, especially given the drought that they have been experiencing. After years of drought, the state of California has come alive again. It is green and vibrant, and nowhere is the landscape more spectacular than here, where a patchwork of grasses and wildflowers dominated the Californian landscape.

Right now, millions of the flowers fill the western Antelope Valley. The best place to see the phenomenal bloom is in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. The reserve is an 1,800-acre state park that is 15 miles west of Lancaster. Itís not just poppies that you will see after heavy rains but rather a dozen different wildflowers, to include yellow goldfield flowers, magenta filarees, and purple pygmy-leaved lupine. Seth Wagerman, a volunteer guide at the reserve, is the perfect person to give tours, as he knows all the flowers by name. From wild hyacinths, poppies, and wildflowers he knows them all. Wagerman, 43, when he is not volunteering his time at the poppy reserve can be found teaching psychology at Pepperdine University in Malibu two days a week, is a natural guide.

There are some things you will want to remember if you are going to see the amazing bloom. California law makes it illegal to remove any plant material from state land or a county highway right-of-way without permission. Picking a poppy from a state park or a roadside is a misdemeanor, and punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. Also, you want to be aware that you can do whatever you want with a poppy that grows on private property. You could, for instance, boil the flowers down with some lard, like the Spaniards used to do, as a way to reverse baldness, this historical tidbit came from Wagerman himself.

The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve sits approximately 50 miles north of the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north, and the snow-topped San Gabriels to the south. If you visit the reserve this season, which lasts through until May, you want to try and go on a week day, as the large parking lot fill up quickly on the weekends. The poppy reserve has eight miles of trails, and visitors are expected to stay on the dirt paths. Venturing into the flowers is ecologically not wholly safe. As the area is host the most toxic rattlesnake of all, the Mojave Green rattlesnake. When the rattlesnake bites, they are dry bites,í as the snakes are saving up their venom for prey. But the baby snakes release all of their venoms because they donít know better. So it's better just to stay on the paths. As the snake's venom is full of hemotoxins and neurotoxins, which can clot up your blood like pudding. Consider yourself lucky if you get the chance to see this magnificent bloom, as pictures of the flowers don't do the natural beauty justice. This is just one of the stories trending on the LA Times site. Other stories you will find on the site include celebrity recent news, local, sports, political news, news about famous people, new celebrity news and so much more. **

Learn MORE at LA Times

To help with slow website load, we have put all photos for this article here: View photo gallery.