Every year we pack up the Wildflower Van, hit the road and follow the bloom as it moves throughout the West. From the deserts in early spring to the high peaks of the Cascades in August, we’ll go anywhere for a good bloom. Along the way, we take folks out on wildflower walks to show them all the beauty that’s waiting right outside the door. Come with us and dig deep into the place. On these trips, you’ll learn the names of the flowers and the natural history of the area. We’ll spend plenty of time to lazing about in fields of wildflowers, jumping in swimming holes and soaking in hot springs.
Why do we do this? Because it makes us happy. Of course we love to get the chance to research new places and fragrance ingredients, but really it’s the beauty of being out there that grips us.
The Desert Bloom – Death Valley / Saline Valley: If you like plants, you’ll eventually fall in love with the desert. For biodiversity, ecosystem diversity, and pure botanical charisma and intensity, the Desert beats those lush green places every time. The Saline Valley is one of the supreme end-of-the-road locations. Expect a good wildflower bloom with tons of flowering cacti and perennials. We’ll sip on desert ambrosia cocktails in the evening while gazing up at the brilliant desert stars.
The Coastal Bloom – Big Sur: While the Redwood studded western slope of the Santa Lucias and sea-cliff hot tubs get all the press when it comes to Big Sur, plant folks know the real action is on the drier, Eastern side of the mountains. Not only is it incredibly botanically diverse, but it’s just so pretty.
The Mountain Bloom – When Hall’s Grandpa, who was born and raised in the tiny eastern Oregon town of Cove, was fifteen years old in 1934, he crossed the Walllowas to his uncle’s house in Joseph, Oregon. It was a summer adventure with his younger brother, cousin and their mule, Jenny, who had a habit of wandering off. In honor of Grandpa we’re going to retrace his steps through the spectacular Wallowa Mountains. We’ll also be doing the Wonderland Trail. This trail is, by all accounts, one of the crown jewels of Northwest backpacking. It’s an unbroken string of lakes, streams, wildflower meadows and the biggest and most spectacular glaciers in the entire West. Best of all, we’re doing it in the peak of Cascade wildflower bloom.
The Bay Bloom – Mt. Diablo: In John Muir’s field of bees essay, he talks about walking across the central valley in the peak of wildflower season, “would press about a hundred flowers at every step. Mints, Gilias, Nemophilas, Castilleias … “ The Diablo range is the primary depository of this wonderful biological heritage that was long ago depleted by farming. Mt. Diablo is an epic crossroads of coastal and inland plants. The wildflower bloom this year is insane up there.
Big Sur to Badwater – We’re climbing the Sierra Nevada the old fashioned way, from the bottom up, just the way John Muir did it 140 years ago. We’ll be starting at the valley floor and backpacking for three to four days up to the giant sequoia groves in Sequoia national park. The High Sierra Trail is one of the premier backpacking trips in the world. We’ll be picking up this trail where we left off a couple months earlier in the Sequoia National Park. We’ll cross over the high crest, touch the top of Mt. Whitney and descend down the east side to Lone Pine where we’ll celebrate completing this epic trail!
Tune in to JR Founder Hall Newbegin’s playlist for the Wildflowers.