Abloom: The Wild Irises of Mono County

Make for Bridgeport Valley for a purple-pretty sight.

A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT: There are plenty of places around the Golden State that see a sudden field of flowers come a particular week or month a year. Some of those places cultivate the blooms -- we're thinking of Descanso Garden's famous wintertime camellia and the Daffodil Garden near Running Springs in the San Bernardino Mountains -- while other spots are a bit wilder and less predictable. Yep, poppies and the Antelope Valley are in this category (picture splashes of orange everywhere) and the gorgeous wild irises of Mono County. Oh, didn't know a pocket of California sees some serious iris action come the late spring? It's true. The spot is Bridgeport Valley, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada near Bodie Hills. For sure, you can take Highway 395 to get there, or near there, at least, and, for sure, you should act quickly: The Mono County tourism people said the valley is currently "blooming like crazy," and the purple-dotted photograph they supplied bears this out.

TRAVERTINE HOT SPRINGS... The Mono County supporters also recommended stopping by for a hot springs dip while calling upon the irises. That certainly sounds like a pleasant, nature-nice way to spend a Saturday. But make it Saturday, June 7, if you can, as the flowers will soon be beyond their peak. Oh, California, you do charm with you quick and spectacular petal shows.

MONO COUNTY HAPS... Check out what else is going down around the county. And, yep, you're not too far from the big lake, if you journey to the irises. Tufa!

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