Antelope in California

On our way down to our desert stomping grounds, I saw a sign I’d seen many times before outside Paso Robles, California: Antelope Road. It brought to mind a book on wildflowers of Antelope Valley, one of many western wildflower identification books I’ve collected. Photographing wildflowers is a favorite pastime on these desert trips, and identifying them later is almost as much fun!

Anyway, this trip I wondered: are these names meaningful? Are there real antelope in California? Or were there? Thanks to a wireless connection at our stopover, I found that yes, there is a type of antelope in California. It’s not a “real” antelope to the scientists, but enough of one to retain the common name: the Pronghorn antelope. And yes, Virginia, there are antelope outside Paso Robles and in Antelope Valley.

All this talking about names reminds me of one of my favorite books growing up, The Name Game. Back then, there wasn’t an Internet. This little book told the stories of how places in South Carolina got their names. I found a book on California place names recently, and had to add it to my collection. When I get home, I’ll have to see what that book says about how Antelope Valley got its name.  The Antelope Valley wikipedia page didn’t tell me.  I guess the Internet can’t tell you everything.


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