california poppies north of LA countyOn our last days of driving home, we saw a great number of desert blooms from Arizona to Southern California. We had heard on the radio that the high desert to the east of LA was experiencing a bloom that had not been seen for over 10 yrs.  Driving through LA County on Saturday, we saw many families just sitting among the flowers, mostly California poppies, have portraits done or picnicking.  Viewing the bloom was just a great family outing!

mountains in bloom north of LA county

Usually the hills near LA are all brown and dry.  But as we drove past, we could see yellow and purple patches on the very top of the hills.

California vineyards

We also saw a great number of vineyards.  Not all of them were meant for wine.  We passed through the Sun-maid Raisin growing area, located between LA and San Francisco. There are so many crops in California, from fruit like strawberries to nuts such as almonds and walnuts.  After 3 days of driving through California, I couldn’t get over the amount of fresh produce they grow, many of which we consume here in Canada.

In the spring of 1792 British navigator George Vancouver entered Puget Sound and started to give English names to the high mountains he saw. Mount Baker was named for Vancouver’s third lieutenant, the graceful Mount St. Helens for a famous diplomat, Mount Hood was named in honor of Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood (an admiral of the Royal Navy) and the tallest Cascade, Mount Rainier, is the namesake of Admiral Peter Rainier.  (,781Volcanoes)

Along the highway between northern California and the Canadian border, there are no less than 5 important peaks.  They are Mt. Shasta (elev 14,162), Mt. Hood (elev 11,239), Mt. St.Helens (elev 8,363), Mt. Rainier (elev 14,411) and Mt. Baker (elev 10,781).

We can see Mt. Baker each clear day from many viewpoints in the Fraser Valley.  And we had seen Mt. Shasta on a previous trip south, as well as Mt. Rainier.  But I had never seen Mt. St. Helens, the volcano that irrupted in 1980.  We tried to drive up to the National Volcanic Monument a few years ago, but it was just rainy and foggy.  So I was elated to have seen all 5 of these snow topped giants within 2 days of driving home. I consider that quite exceptional.