Tulip Mania --> Poppy FOMO
March 17, 2019 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Large desert blooms, labeled "superblooms" (previously) have been happening with greater than average frequency in the last few years, a consequence of wet-dry weather swings and fire activity. Social media has caught on, and capturing one's self sprawled in a field of wildflowers is now an essential selfie ritual.

In 2017 the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park experienced 200,000 visitors over a short period, overwhelming the park facilities and the small town of Borrego Springs and forcing freeway closures in what was termed "flowergeddon."
This year, the town of Lake Elsinore has had an amazing bloom of poppies in nearby hillsides, inspiring more than 50,000 Instagram-happy visitors to visit over a single weekend and forcing the closure of Walker Canyon to tourists announced in an angrily worded City social media post.
posted by q*ben (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
PS: yes, i went (not on the weekend). Yes, it was amazing. No, i did not go off path. Yes, people are awful.
posted by q*ben at 9:39 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]

Perhaps related, my wife and I were in Death Valley a couple of weeks ago, and they had just had a deluge of 2" in a day or so, equal to the usual annual rainfall. I'm thinking that sort of thing may have contributed to desert blooms.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:06 PM on March 17

I can’t get used to this lifestyle.
posted by Segundus at 10:45 PM on March 17 [22 favorites]

We drove by last Saturday afternoon, and thought of stopping by, but it was obvious that traffic made it impossible, so we just continued on
posted by growabrain at 11:24 PM on March 17

And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:22 AM on March 18 [18 favorites]

Monday a good day for flower watching. I will give this a try but I ain't blottin' out teh view of purty flowers with my self. Heck no!
posted by Oyéah at 12:34 AM on March 18

Should we all just stay home?
posted by bluefly at 5:53 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]

Something similar happened here in Ontario last year... a sunflower farm decided to open to the public and was overwhelmed with selfie-seekers.

The idea was for interested visitors to come witness the annual two-week-long bloom amidst a "quiet country setting" while learning about how wild bird-feed is processed (and maybe even buy some food for their local feathered friends).

What happened was complete chaos, according to the Hamilton Spectator, as "hordes of plant paparazzi jockeyed to get the perfect shot of bursting bright yellow sunflowers."

I'm talking people running across multiple lanes of live highway traffic with children in tow. I'm talking cars stopping in the middle of roads and completely jamming up the highway.

I'm talking people urinating in the bushes of neighbouring properties.

The police stepped in to shut down the activity after 7000 vehicles clogged the highway but for weeks afterwards people kept coming and destroying the crop.
posted by Gortuk at 6:28 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]

Was there a previous version of that angrily worded post that was more angrily worded? Because it doesn't seem all that angry?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:00 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]

We used to Polaroid
Now it's just Instagram selfies
You got it, you got it
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:27 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]

Steps for making a great #superbloom photo

1. Set saturation to +50%

That's it. You too can make cliché flower photos with this one simple trick!
posted by Nelson at 8:34 AM on March 18

The effects of global warming are already here and its honestly terrifying. In the next 4 years I'll be graduating and selecting the first branch of my career path, and settling down somewhere. It's a new and terrible experience that many in my generation and younger are having to face - deciding where to live, and more broadly what to do in life based on what parts of the country will become uninhabitable in our futures.

Anyway, boo-hoo feelings aside, my local botanical gardens has a wildflower field, and the first time I saw it in bloom I cried real tears.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:36 AM on March 18 [7 favorites]

Instagram really does ruin everything. The "Superbloom!" happens just about every year in Southern California it rains a decent amount, and growing up in the north part of LA County (SCV represent!), I heard about the poppies constantly in the High Desert, although I've never gone to seen them. My wife grew up in the town getting all the attention recently (Lake Elsinore), and absolutely no one gave a shit about the poppies her entire life until this year. These people should just go up to Gorman or whatever (I actually don't remember where the poppies close to LA show up), since "Come for the Poppies!" is part of that area's yearly tourism marketing campaign.

The stupid part of all the hubbub this weekend: it's been a relatively cold/wet winter (For Orange Country anyway, sorry, we are weak), but this weekend was 80ish degrees and clear. Why the hell are you going to the Inland Empire for flowers? Go to the beach! That's why you spent at least a million dollars on a house! It's been 50 and rainy for weeks!

Anyway, Instagram is terrible. Life was much better when you could tell people about your fake life, rather then providing photographic "evidence".
posted by sideshow at 8:50 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]

A short verse about too-close-up selfies:

Where have all the flowers gone?
Duck face blocked them every one
When will they ever learn?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:08 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]

I'd swoon at a Superbloom in June. A Bloomsday plume of doubloons among the dunes.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:16 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]

... and immune to the commune of buffoons we lampoon.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:19 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]

People, we are doing this wrong.

We need to rave up that the Superbloom is out at the CA Hwy 62 / Hwy 177 intersection (as of last week it was mustard struggling to bloom) and let them all get lost in far eastern Californian deserts.

Then again, most of them will stop at Coachella or Chiriaco Summit or the road that goes to the backside of Joshua Tree and never drive that far...
posted by msjen at 10:46 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]

Yes, obviously, only the correct people should view these natural wonders, in numbers that do not inconvenience me, and they should take only the kind of photographs that I approve of.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:37 AM on March 18 [8 favorites]

Kind of neat that instagram created a page of people I want nothing to do with, just for me.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:51 PM on March 18

Yes, obviously, only the correct people should view these natural wonders, in numbers that do not inconvenience me, and they should take only the kind of photographs that I approve of.
posted by Rock Steady 21 hours ago [7 favorites +] [!]

Yeah, this whole things is phrased kind of poorly. I'm not too bothered about the selfies or whatever, it's more that people recklessly destroyed parts of they were trying to "appreciate", refused to stay on the path, as well as doing things like stopping and vacating the car in the middle of the road, etc.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:24 AM on March 19

Assholes gonna asshole, Instagram or not. The problem is lack of education for visitors, who often do not know what is safe and expected behavior.

There’s a whole subset of nature lovers, including hikers, that gets off on the experience of being the only one to know about a vista or a trail or a field of wildflowers or whatever. I’d rather spend the time teaching people how to interact with nature in a way that is safe for them and the ecosystem than grumble about fucking Instagram and, essentially, “newbs and posers”. Maybe some of these people will be inspired to engage and support conservation efforts! We all started somewhere and I can think of few things as moving as a superbloom.

(Disclaimer: I put pictures from my hikes on Instagram! For all of my 30 or so followers! Because I like photography and hiking and sharing those things with my friends!)
posted by lydhre at 4:26 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]

God, now there's gonna be an Instagram traffic jam in space?!
posted by jacquilynne at 5:19 AM on March 22

"We never thought it would be explicitly necessary to state that it is illegal to land a helicopter in the middle of the fields and begin hiking off trail in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. We were wrong."
posted by peeedro at 2:36 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

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