Channel Orange: Super Bloom
The California Poppy Reserve is one of the locations, aside from Walker Canyon, that caused major mayhem over the “innanets” (namely instagram) during this year’s Super Bloom. This year we got a significant amount of rainfall this season, which resulted in an abundance of flowers blooming all across California this Spring, thus it being called the Super Bloom. I was originally supposed to see the Super Bloom at Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore with @joshyoutrippin, however I was not in the best state to function after a late night out with friends. Clearly my priorities were all jacked. Luckily my photographer friend, @jtuck_photo and I decided to head to a closer location, the poppy fields in Lancaster a little over a month ago.
We arrived at about 8am, stayed for about 2 hours and got out of there right as it was getting crowded. Guys, there were literally never-ending waves of poppies, as far as the eyes could see. The poppies even bloomed miles before you reached the reserve. It was so insanely breathtaking I could not believe my very own eyes. I was so glad I was able to witness the phenomenon in person since I’ve had it on my bucket list for a few years now.
Now let’s get down to the aftermath. Apparently people on the internet love to tell you what you were doing in a photo even though they weren’t there themselves. I made it very clear that I was off trail and that no flowers were harmed, however that doesn’t stop the incessant online bullying about how much of a terrible human being I am. Make no mistake, I have the thickest skin and frankly complete strangers who hide behind filters, blank avis and private pages have little affect on me, however this experience revealed the underbelly of toxic and violent online behavior in the social media world. Welp! It does have it’s cons. Listen, I understand people want to protect the environment, as do I, however, I don’t condone people having this silly approach of aggression that is completely and utterly counterproductive. Do you really think I or anyone else is going to respond to such aggression and hostility with “obedience”? Yea, NO! Not to mention people being supremely hypocritical and being selective with their bullying.
What I mean by selective bullying is, I’ve seen dozens of people actually lying on flowers, visually crushing them and not a single word from the poppy police, however they, without actual visual proof, decide to bully those who they ONLY think may have. I have also seen other influencers being believed when they say “no poppies were harmed” without shadow of a doubt. The poppy police are also hypocrites because a few of the brave trolls who dare to keep their accounts public have (*gasp* ) photographic proof of them on various hiking trails and in various flowers fields (just as long as they are not the poppies *eyeroll*) OFF TRAIL. All I ask is that you keep the same energy, and have respectful dialogue, otherwise you will be blocked.
Speaking of same energy, I have found that when I did engage a few trolls in discourse over other more important issues like police brutality and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the responses given were mostly deflective, complete silence or them wanting to take those discussions to my DMs. By the way, the person who wanted to chat in my dms ended up blocking ME after harassing me on my page hmm the audacity! My favorite line was “we are only talking about flowers right now.” Oh?
Why bring up those topics one may ask? Well, since there was an activism crusade going on, I wanted to point out that particular folks only care about one thing while loudly ignoring more important glaring issues. Trust and believe this is not an isolated event. The comment section had gotten so outrageous that a few people, (who don’t even live in the state of California) tried to tell me, there were parker rangers and signs up everywhere prohibiting going off trail. None of which was true in my visit to the poppy fields.
I have read a few think pieces on “outdoorsing while black” and I have noticed that the policing of black bodies in the outdoors space, though not surprising, is rather exhausting. This situation felt eerily similar to that of policing. I’ve had someone troll me on visiting Stanley the Giraffe at Malibu Wines ( a place that many people have visited before me and surely will after me).
If there are any take aways from this blog post, please know that you definitely can enjoy the outdoors responsibly and you should, unapologetically. Let this be a reminder to never let any trolls try to bully you out of exploring the world because that’s what its here for. The hashtag from here to infinity and beyond is #blockandcarryon.
I am not sure at this point in time the flowers are still in bloom, but you can be sure to visit next year!
Enjoy the outdoors responsibly and unapologetically.