As summer fades to fall along California’s Central Coast, the promise of seasonal rains returns triggering a remarkable transformation of the Santa Barbara backcountry. Creeks gurgle into reappearance after a long summer slumber, grass felts over the parched golden hills in a lush green carpet and California wildflowers sprout.
As the rains come pattering down quenching the semiarid land annual flowering plants erupt once more from the sun baked soil. After enduring months of high temperatures beneath Santa Barbara’s characteristic blue cloudless skies, the seeds take root and begin their short burst of colorful life. The neutral sun faded tones of the summertime countryside, usually only punctuated by the evergreen Coast Live Oaks and Digger Pines, resembles for a short time an artist’s canvas.
The coverage of California poppies blanketing the slopes surrounding Figueroa Mountain and Zaca Ridge to the west is so thick at times it can be seen from miles away while driving San Marcos Pass. As if the creation of a master artist working with complimentary colors, the fields on the mountain bloom profusely with a combination of bright orange poppies and dark blue lupine.