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At these 8 California spots, spring shows up with a splash

At these 8 California spots, spring shows up with a splash
From top left clockwise, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve (Elisa Parhad), the Kern River (Chris Erskine); Fonts Point (Bil McIntire/Anza-Borrego Foundation) and Burney Falls (Christopher Reynolds).

Spring has sprung — or will have as of about 9:15 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday. In the weeks ahead, the season's new life and brighter colors will be busting out all over California — green buds, rushing rivers, desert blooms. And in these eight spots harvested from our California Bucket List, the spectacle is likely to be especially tempting.

Here's the roundup, with links to 2017 stories by Elisa Parhad, Chris Erskine and me.

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1. Hunt for golden blooms at Antelope Valley's California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster

Some years (as in the photo) this site yields carpets of gold. After the last mostly dry year, the state's experts are predicting a "small to moderate bloom" that will begin in early April "if the weather holds and if we don't get too much frost or heat." On March 16, rangers reported fiddleneck, slender keel fruit, and filaree beginning to bloom, along with several small poppy plants alongside the Tehachapi Vista Point Trail, Antelope Trail South Loop, and Antelope Butte Trail.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. (Elisa Parhad)
2. Raft white water on the South Fork of the American River
South Fork, American River, near Coloma.
South Fork, American River, near Coloma. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times)
3. Feel small under North America's tallest falls
Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
4. Soak in the view of California's Grand Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Fonts Point
Fonts Point (Bill McIntire/Anza-Borrego Foundation)
5. Drive that steep, curvy, busy, big-rig-filled mountain route that goes green and gold when the time is right -- the Grapevine
The Grapevine section of I-5, just north of the Tehachapis.
The Grapevine section of I-5, just north of the Tehachapis. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
6. Splash and thrash on a river raft adventure on the Kern
River guide and outfitter Skip Volpert navigates a raft on the Upper Kern River.
River guide and outfitter Skip Volpert navigates a raft on the Upper Kern River. (Chris Erskine)
7. Stop to smell the roses in the Los Angeles Flower District
Browsers, L.A. Flower District, Wall Street, downtown L.A.
Browsers, L.A. Flower District, Wall Street, downtown L.A. (Elisa Parhad)
8. Drink in the mist from Northern California's Burney Falls, 129 feet tall and as handsome as they come
Burney Falls, Ca.
Burney Falls, Ca. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

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Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

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