Superbloom gives Lake Elsinore a hangover
After the rains of 2019, in the quiet hills of Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, poppies bloomed in numbers rarely seen. The city also bloomed with visitors in numbers rarely seen: By carload and by shuttle, this past weekend 150,000 people descended upon the superbloom, turning it into what some are calling the apoppylypse.1
The 15 freeway was a parking lot. People fainted from the heat. A dog was bitten by a rattlesnake. A city employee directing traffic was hit by a car, scraped himself off the pavement, and continued to direct traffic for 12 more hours. Gawkers free-climbed through the hills, falling on the rugged terrain and sending boulders rolling down onto the unsuspecting, below.
By the end of the weekend, the city had had enough and initiated #poppyshutdown in a social media version of "Stay off my lawn!" They closed the roads and sternly cautioned that no more shuttles would be allowed into the canyon.
But even with the roads closed, They Came. They parked on the shoulder and straggled across rocky fields in inappropriate footwear, clutching selfie sticks, lured by the poppies and the promise of maximum Instagram likes. The Lake Elsinore mayor admitted it was impossible to close a mountain, and #poppyshutdown was over almost as soon as it began.
With little hope of the throngs of visitors falling asleep in the poppy fields, it looks like all Lake Elsinore can do is wait out the apoppylypse.