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Merced River Canyon poppies

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Merced River Canyon poppies
March 23, 2007 03:49PM
Despite the otherwise very dry winter, the fine February storms hath delivered a fine growth of spring splendor. California poppies have suddenly bloomed up with one of the best displays I've seen in years. Best areas are on the treeless open slopes near the South Fork confluence including along the easy to access well known Hite Cove Trail.


Poppies are slow to open and the trail is shadowed early morning thus a late morning hike start works best. Red buds are also peaking everywhere right now between Midpines and El Portal. There are lots of other wildflower species too though they are in more normal numbers with popcorn flower, gilia, goldfields, shooting star, fiddleneck, bicolor lupine, woodland star, baby blue eyes, red maids, pretty face, lace pods, and some red buds.

The site of the highway 140 road slide is about one mile downstream from the South Fork bridge along the east side of Ferguson Ridge at BM1977. Caltrans has two temporary bridges around the slope that cross to the north side. The largest expanse of California poppies during most springs is on the north side of the river immediately upstream of the east end temporary bridge. Unfortunately there is no pedestrian access across the temporary bridge. Verbotten!.

A gal I met on the Hite Cove Trail related one of the proposals Caltrans is considering would be to place a new highway bridge across the river then through this massive California poppy slope that when it is blooming like now, may well be the largest and most impressive in all of Northern California. Thus PLEASE write Caltrans, Sierra National Forest, and Mariposa County to harpoon that alternative. That slope would have been renowned for wildflower lovers were it not for the fact it is on the opposite side of the impassible river from the road that would take a few miles of hiking to otherwise access. In the future Sierra National Forest and Mariposa County could have a worthy spring tourist area complementing the Hite Cove Trail if they would develop parking and a trail given the need to bypass slide area. So put your two cents into a plan that includes north side parking and river access. Otherwise a small pedestrian bridge from the Savage Trading Post area crossing the river would work nicely.


Post Edited (03-23-07 20:19)

Re: Merced River Canyon poppies
March 23, 2007 06:59PM
Nice photo and thanks for sharing the information! Very beautiful!
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