Friday, March 11, 2005
Death Valley isn’t living up to its reputation. At not at the present time. After years of extreme drought, the heavens have opened and a record amount of precipitation has fallen on the region this winter. There are places where fields of flowers cover the normally barren rock gardens. The lake in the bottom of the basin has expanded far beyond Badwater, stretching for miles on either side. From the shoreline up onto the sides of mountains, from 200 feet below sea level to the 2000-foot range, flowers are everywhere. Desert Golds are by far the most prominent flower on display now. But there are also significant numbers of phacelia, verbena, purple and yellow asters, desert five-spot (also known as Japanese lanterns), desert golden poppies, and desert dandelions. Even the greasewood (creosotebush) is putting on a display of its yellow blooms. The desert is in bloom. I’m glad to have caught what is said to be a once in a lifetime experience.