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SuperBloom 2019; Beauty Meets Barbarism with a Digital Twist

SuperBloom 2019 hits Southern California Deserts with an explosion of flowers…. and instagram tourists.

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Unexpected Flower Explosion Leads to Traffic Jams for Instagram

photo / Monique Ly

After two years of unusually plentiful rain, even areas such as Ansa-Borrego Desert State Park, Death Valley and Lake Elsinore, CA are enjoying an exceptional phenomenon called the “Super Bloom”. This year’s model is bigger and better than 2017’s version, and it’s coming 8 years ahead of schedule since once in a decade is the historical norm.

Photo / Monique Ly

Our climate is changing, and often, especially lately, it’s alarming. But, occasionally, we are also privy to unique and exceptional displays of beauty, caused by an out-of-whack Mother Nature.

photo / Monique Ly

This is a super charge of flowers blooming due to increased rain that has ignited dormant desert seeds into a beautiful bouquet of primrose, desert Lillies, poppies, Sand Verbena, and Bigelow’s Monkeyflower. 

Photo / Monique Ly

What was once a desert is now an array and an eruption of flowers, and the wildlife that feed on these flowers.

photo / Monique Ly

The SuperBloom 2019 has been spectacular to behold. But, in true 21st-century human fashion, the opportunity was nearly stomped out by the overzealous. Instagrammers and hikers from far and wide bombarded Walker Canyon (near Lake Elsinore, CA) with massive automotive and foot traffic.

photo / Monique Ly

Reports of selfie-sticks doubling as trekking poles, and people stumbling and falling through flower patches, became the norm. All for the glory of “the ‘gram”.

An event that started with affectionate terms like “Poppypalooza” and “Poppy Mania” quickly sprouted the hashtags #poppynightmares  and #isitoveryet.


photo / Danny Leeds

The phenomenon caused an estimated 66,000 people to flood the small California town (doubling its usual 60,000 population in one weekend). The normally sleepy metropolis couldn’t handle the congestion, which forced Elsinore police to “close everything”. 

photo / Monique Ly

Local residents began to yell at people directing traffic, an exploring dog was bitten by a rattlesnake, and the gridlock became a safety issue (one hit-and-run was reported). The canyon is known for steep hills and the hillsides aren’t meant to have hikers.

photo / Monique Ly

Reports of photo-shoots in areas designated off-limits to tourists, and hikers in heels were common.  Reports of selfie-sticks doubling as trekking poles, and people stumbling and falling through flower patches, became the norm. All for the glory of “the ‘gram”.

The Lake Elsinore website provided an email to make “complaints and suggestions”

The beauty, as captured in part by our photography crew above, remains, thankfully, and 2019 will likely be remembered as the year of the Great SuperBloom of Southern California.


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