I've been itching to check out the wildflowers this year. I decided to visit Carrizo Plain National Monument, investing 2.5 hours each way. The drive there was pleasant - I really enjoyed the stretch on highway 58! It started off tight and winding, with shady trees. Then it turned into straightaways through gentle rolling hills. And finally, I arrive in the plains. I get so engrossed in the beauty of the land where I live; it's easy to forget that California has so much variety to offer!
My intent was to focus on one specific area in Carrizo Plain that I'd read about - a trail (I didn't want to wander through the long grass and surprise a rattlesnake) that included a short hike uphill. I found the spot (there were other cars there already), and had high ambitions to get to the wildflowers. I was wrong! Hiking up hills is never a great idea when you're terrified of heights as I am. I made it as far as I could manage (it was steep and started getting too high for my comfort), so I turned around.
My takeaway? I shouldn't have to work so hard to get to the wildflowers. Next time, go earlier in the season when they are plentiful in the plains and don't require a steep hike!
Still, it was totally worth it!