By Blake Ashley Frino-Gerl

The welcoming of spring and all the green and growth that the rains have offered is something to enjoy and be grateful for. Many North County activities are taking place to embrace the season and the Easter holiday.

On Saturday, April 1, Downtown Paso Robles City Park is welcoming the community to Hop To It to meet the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street office at (805) 238-4103.

St. Luke’s Episcopal and Hope Lutheran Churches, both in Atascadero, will both be holding Easter Services at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 9.

Awakening Ways Spiritual Community will be hosting a Sunday gathering on April 9 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Pavilion on the Lake in Atascadero. The gathering can also be viewed over Zoom. For information, visit awakeningways.org.

During the week of April 11, children can go to the Shandon Library and color and decorate an Easter egg between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Tracey at tmontelongo@slolibrary.org.

The Charles Paddock Zoo is hosting its Spring Festival April 2-16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Festival will include a variety of fun during school spring breaks, such as the arrival of baby chicks and opportunities to view scheduled animal feedings. For more information, visit charlespaddockzoo.org.

After the abundance of rain we had this winter, we are sure to experience another Super Bloom of wildflowers at the Carissa Plains National Monument. The monument is known as one of the best-kept secrets in California. Visiting the remote monument of San Andreas Fault, you can find carved valleys and white alkali flats of Soda Lake, Painted Rock, and open grasslands filled with natural wildflowers if you are lucky. 

You can keep up to date on the wildflowers in Carissa with weekly updates from the Theodore Payne Foundation Wild Flower Hotline. This hotline provides updates for the best wildflower spots throughout Southern and Central California. Find the updates here theodorepayne.org/learn/wildflower-hotline/. 

To prepare for your visit, it is best to know that there are no amenities such as water, food, or fuel. Plan accordingly and ensure you get these items in one of the neighboring communities. Know that pets must be leashed or caged at developed sites, such as the visitor center, interpretive overlooks, trailheads, and camping areas. Also, pets are not allowed in the Painted Rock exclusion zone.

Getting to the Carissa Plains has two major sources of access: from the north, via Soda Lake Road off of State Route 58, and from the south, via Soda Lake Road off of State Route 33/166.

The dirt roads leading to the park are likely to be rough, given the amount of rain and rough weather we have had this year. Note that roads may be slippery, muddy, and possibly impassable. The Caliente Ridge, Panorama and Simmler roads can be dangerous when wet.

The bounty of natural elements of the monument and its abundance of wildflowers offers its visitors something to remember, and with Earth Day just around the corner — be mindful and proactive in sustaining respect and peace for nature.

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