One of the most spectacular wildflower displays I have ever witnessed was found one April day as I hiked along the northeast flank of Otay Mountain. The road to the summit was lined with a changing palette of blooming plants: yellow and red monkeyflower, morning glory, yerba santa, chaparral pea, wild pea, clematis, nightshade, mountain misery, and wild hyacinth. On one slope recently swept by wildfire, there were tens of thousands of bush poppy plants, each bearing hundreds of big, delicate, four-petaled flowers—millions of flowers in all, swaying in the breeze. The chance of a recurrence of such a fire-following floral event is quite high, since wildfires tend to sweep across these slopes every few years. Absent any wildflower displays, the route is particularly enjoyable during wintertime clear-air episodes, when you can enjoy some of the most sweeping visual panoramas in all of Southern California.
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