An ornamental cherry blossom tree.Probably on of the best ways to appreciate this would be by helicopter, to see the full expanse of these orchards across this huge valley, but I don't have that luxury, so I did what ordinary people do, I got in my car and hit the Fresno Blossom Trail. See the Fresno Country Blossom Trail Website.
Fresno is 3 1/2 hours from my home in San Francisco, so it is a long day in the car to drive there, drive the blossom trail and drive back in one day. I started on a quiet Sunday morning at 10am. After crossing the Bay Bridge I took I-580, through the huge, green hills that create the Altamont Pass. Eventually I hit I-5 and turned south. Along I-5 are magnificent rolling green hills, dotted with cows and sheep.
Cows on the rolling green hills on I-5.Here and there you will find some blooming orchards, some on a stretch of flat land and some rolling along with the hills.
Field of mustard
Other tourists taking photographs.It is about 4.5 miles along Jensen Avenue heading east before the Fresno Blossom trail begins (at the corner of Clovis Ave). See: Blossom Trail Map.
There were many different orchards. It seemed that many of the orchards with white blossoms were either almost done, or done, flowering, I think these were almond trees. There were many orchards with light pink, pink and dark pink flowers, which I think might have been apricot or cherry blossom. I also found some trees that had pink and dark pink blossoms, which I think were nectarine and/or peach trees.
Pink blossom orchard
Darker pink blossom orchard
As I continued along, the landscape got increasingly rural. This made it much nicer, quieter and peaceful. There were also signs for Sequoia National Park and the orchards were beginning to butt up against the mountains leading into this park. As I continued, I did see some white blossom trees. Some of their blossoms were small and some were large, almost the size and shape of a baseball. These might be Plum or Apple blossoms.
White blossom orchard
Young, small white blossoms
Larger, white blossoms
Along the way there were often pools of water, probably from runoff of irrigated water for the orchards.
The air smelled sweet with fresh flowers, but there was often another smell - fragrant oranges. Intermixed with some of the orchards would be an orange or other citrus fruit orchard. At this time of year they were heavy with fruit. These fruit trees are supposed to blossom in the summer, at which time, the air is supposedly even more fragrant with orange/citrus blossom. I'd like to add a note about the locals here. While the eastern parts of the blossom trail are very rural and there is hardly any traffic, occasionally there will be another car that comes up behind you. Since I was driving rather slow, to enjoy the view, they got quite impatient behind me. What I don't understand is that these roads all have dotted yellow lines indicating it is okay to pass and you can see several miles down the road, so you would think they would just pass you. This is not the case. They honk and tailgate, but they rarely pass you. Maybe they don't teach that in the driver's ed classes. Anyway, it was a really cool day, quite an experience. I hope to make it back for the citrus blossoms and next year, in a helicopter (with my dad)!
Pink and dark pink blossoms