We returned to Death Valley for a final ten-day visit, this time meeting friends David and Janet who rented a small van and spent the week with us.
Janet is a plant ecologist who teaches courses in botany and ecology at the College of New Jersey where she is the chair of the biology department and she was an ideal companion for exploring this year’s super bloom in Death Valley.
In the Badwater Basin area of the park, vast acres of flowers lit up the desert floor, especially these fields of the Desert Gold bloom seen above.
It was not just the sheer number of one flower species that got Janet’s attention, but the multitude of individual plants that sprouted in the canyons and plains where we hiked. (Click here for a full photo gallery of flowering plants we identified in Death Valley.)
We took several daylong hikes and explored some narrow canyons that we reached by walking several miles across the desert and into the folds of an alluvial fan at the base of a mountain chain. The marbled walls were smooth from eons of water filled with stones and rubble that rushed down the mountainsides, carving out the canyons.
We also returned to the Panamint Dunes, where we spent a stormy night camping on Thanksgiving. This time, a most beautiful flower poked up from the middle of the sand.
The massive dunes lay undisturbed beneath the mountain peaks.
As the third week of March came to a close we turned our sights eastward and began our slow journey back to the east coast.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.