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Friday, February 19, 2016

Incredible Super Bloom


Death Valley is famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. Summer temperatures often top 120°F in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90s°F.  Average rainfall is less than 2 inches a year, a fraction of what most deserts receive.

Death Valley is not usually known for the beauty of it's flowers.    After all, it's all sand, rock and salt combined with windy conditions.   Seeds can sit dormant for a decade or more just waiting for the right combination of rain and heat.

The last "super blooms" occurred in 1998 and 2005.  The alluvial fans, hillsides, valley floor, and washes were covered with solid carpets of flowers that went on for miles and miles.  In a normal springtime there will be scattered flowers here and there, but during a super bloom, almost every possible place a flower can grow, it will.     It totally transforms Death Valley into a valley of life.       A super bloom is beyond all your expectations.     They are quite rare, maybe once a decade or so.

RJ and I took a day trip to Death Valley this week to experience this Super Bloom.       We went down one road for 47 miles in utter awe.   (We would have gone further but the road was washed out from the rain earlier this month - the flowers continued)

You can see the distant highway in the upper middle of this shot.    It gives you some perspective of the sheer vastness of this particular field of flowers.

You can see the fields of flowers on the distant foot hills.     There is no way to describe the sheer beauty of seeing so much life in this seemly barren land.     The rangers say that not only are there vast fields of flowers, the plant sizes are much larger than normal.

Some areas are more lush than others.

RJ decided to hike out a ways - did you recognize him?

As far as the eye can see in these foothills are shadings of yellow.     You can't see the vast amount of white flowers (and purple) but they are there.

I hope you have enjoyed my pictures of this rare occurrence.    We will probably go back in a couple weeks - reports say that what we saw was just the start of the super bloom.     Unreal ..............

Wildflowers: Desert Gold (Geraea canescens), Notch-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata), Caltha-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia calthifolia), Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes), Gravel Ghost (Atrichoseris platyphylla), Bigelow Monkeyflower (Mimulus bigelovii), Desert Five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia)


  1. We thought about going this week but didn't fit it. From the TV report last night they said they were at the peak but maybe this was just one type. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I too have experienced this time of year in the Southwest and it is a spectacular dessert sight. Thanks for sharing and as far as recognizing RJ, we'd recognize him anywhere. :)

  3. Look at you gushing on about the beauty in the desert! That really is phenomenal and it would be an honor to witness it some day.