Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

The Living Desert

Wildflowers, Death Valley NP

Wildflowers, Death Valley NP

Flowers, flowers, and more flowers.  An unusual sight most of the time in Death Valley.  If you see them, it will be in the Spring – but only if conditions are right.  And this year conditions were definitely favorable.  Death Valley saw a fair amount of rain over the past few months.  Here you see a large patch of Desert Gold up on a hillside (near Natural Bridge), with the salt basin and the Panamint Mountains in the background.  Note the snow still visible on the high peaks. 

A threat of rain, Death Valley NP

A threat of rain, Death Valley NP

Rain was still a threat, in fact, the first two days we were there.  We got hit with “sprinkles” a couple of times, but no heavy rain.  Most of the precipitation  appeared to be restricted to the higher elevations.

Some tall Desert Gold, Death Valley NP

Some tall Desert Gold, Death Valley NP

Desert Gold was by far the most common wildflower in the park.  What made this year unusual was (1) the number of them, (2) the size of the flower, and (3) the height of the plant.  Most were much taller – with bigger blooms – than normal.

Something different

Something different

There was some variety, though.  I’m not sure exactly what this one was (a flower expert I’m not), but it was certainly pretty. 

Down the road, Death Valley NP

Down the road, Death Valley NP

It was difficult, in my opinion, to capture in a photograph the extent of this wildflower explosion.  Your eyes seemed better able to record these vibrant colors than the camera’s sensor.  This view, taken along the road to Beatty, NV, was simply striking when we first saw it.  The flat area in the distance was very yellow and very bright.  An amazing sight.  But this image just doesn’t capture what I remember seeing.

I guess you just had to be there………

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “The Living Desert”

  1. E. Brooks

    I’m glad the timing worked out and you got to see Death Valley in bloom, Paul. As someone who’s never been to Death Valley the rarity of such an occasion may be a little wasted on me, but it is beautiful. 🙂 Of course with climate change, who knows what the new norms will be.

    Reply
    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, who knows? Maybe in a hundred years or so the lake in the valley will return. And maybe the old river, too. Maybe future tourists will start going there for water sports or something. Of course if all that happens, maybe there won’t be any tourists left to go there……..

      Reply
  2. Cedric Canard

    I’m envious Paul. Flowering deserts are a rare sight indeed and you got to see one. Good for you. Though Brooks could be right, with climate change it may become a regular event 🙂

    Reply
    • Paul Maxim

      Your comment, Cedric, reminds me of the ever increasing frequency of so-called “once-in-a-lifetime” events. The weather people are always talking about “hundred year storms” or other events that used to be truly rare. But it seems like those massive hurricanes and tornadic outbreaks and those huge snowstorms have become regular occurrences. Having said that, it’s nice that the flowering deserts are one of the good outcomes of climate change. Perhaps.

      Reply

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