Maturango Museum to host wildflower trip

Maturango Museum to host wildflower tripThe Maturango Museum will host a field trip to the Southern Owens Valley with naturalist Janet Westbrook on Saturday, May 4, to view the wildflowers.

Participants will meet at the museum at 8 a.m. to check in and sign liability waivers. Caravans and carpools are encouraged. The drive will cover a round trip of about 200 miles.

“Anyone can drive from Ridgecrest to Lone Pine in an hour and a half, but do you know all the secret little places you’re passing by and why they are what they are?” asked Westbrook.

“We start our explorations at Little Lake, take the aqueduct road to Haiwee plant, ‘ride the rails’ above Haiwee, poke around back streets of Olancha and Cartago, visit the Cottonwood charcoal kilns, look at other lake stuff, explore Lone Pine and then the Alabama Hills, looking for movie sites, arches, spectacular rock formations and little creeks, all in the shadow of the snowy Sierra.”

After lunch, the caravan will visit the historic town of Keeler, the Owens lakebed, Darwin and Panamint Valley. The course will contine through Trona and back to Ridgecrest “with stops at interesting places” along the way.

Each participant is encouraged to bring a lunch, folding chair and plenty of water.

Recommended attire and accoutrements include hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, camera and binoculars.

“You’ll need a full tank of gas, car and tires in good running order,” said Westbrook. “Four-wheel drive is not necessary, but will be handy on dirt roads.”

The cost of the trip is $25 per member and $20 per nonmember. Families are encouraged, and dogs are allowed.

Sign up in the museum store or online at

Pictured: Wildflowers cover the Indian Wells Valley floor, as they do in most adjacent valleys — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-05-03