Photos: Lupine Bloom Boom

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Despite the ongoing drought, Mother Nature delivered this month on the long-anticipated "super bloom" of lupines along Bald Hills Road in Redwood National Park. It's been at least four years since the last large display of lupine appeared on the hills 18 miles east of the intersection withU.S. Highway 101 north of Orick.

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The lupine blossoms are now heading past their prime but it's still a spectacular drive to head up Bald Hills Road past Lady Bird Johnson Grove and out of the redwood forest onto the "bald" grass-covered hills and oak woodlands. In the past, the hills were kept tree-free by regular burning by Native Americans according to traditional practices to encourage other plant growth and minimize wildfires. Parks personnel now do controlled burns in the area, which seems to stimulate more lupine growth. See more photos in the slideshow below.

Sunset or sunrise views can be spectacular here with fog filling the valley below but you can also find yourself covered in low clouds until later in the morning when it burns off. The best (though limited) parking is right where the pavement ends and the road turns into dusty gravel. Be careful driving and parking, as there is regular logging-truck traffic during the day.

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