FROM FEBRUARY TO JUNE: When your state's showiest time of year -- hint: the huge wildflower bloom -- kicks off within weeks of New Year's Day, it can lead one to imagine that the whole flowery shebang'll be wrapped up and thoroughly over by spring break, or perhaps April, at the latest. This isn't true, not wholly, not when the elevation changes within California run from the below-sea-level-ness of Death Valley National Park (typically one of the first places out of the annual door with the wildflowers) to the 13,000-foot peaks, and beyond, of the Sierra Nevada. For sure, the deserts do it first, on the bud-breaking front, but the mountain's petal-gorgeous showtime doesn't really rev up before May, give or take. That's happening now, around the Eastern Sierra, which is indeed vast, but Mono County Tourism has been tracking the irises and poppies and everything else via its Facebook page.
BEST GO, though, if you're gonna, as they say, because the life cycle of a wildflower, even those in crisper elevations, wait for no adventurer. But we'll assume lots of people are making for the Mammoth area over Memorial Day Weekend, what with the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival and the Ski/Bike/Golf Challenge going down (er, we mean "up"). True, Devils Postpile National Monument isn't yet open for the season -- look to the middle of June -- but fishing is, as of the last Saturday in April. There's a lot of summer-y doings afoot along Highway 395, and up into the crags and canyons and lake-y areas of the region. Including, yes, those late-blooming wildflowers, though they're only late, calendar-wise; they're right on time for where they are. It's good to know that we truly have a lengthy wildflower run that lasts, if not half a year, then a full third. Nicely done, California-based blooms, wherever you may grow.