When you hear the term “Death Valley,” what comes to mind? I always envisioned a huge arid landscape filled with nothing more than sand, the classic wavering look of a heat wave on the horizon, the unmistakable sound of a hawk somewhere above me, a few ancient bleached cattle skulls scattered around the landscape and the eerie sound of a Mojave rattlesnake subtly warning me of its deadly bite.
The landscape that slowly unfolded around me did look like an arid wasteland. It was alien, strange and varied in color from tan to dark red with the occasional hint of golden yellow.
The color green was absent from this color palette. The ancient dead trees reminded me of old skeletons. A distant memory of what life might have been like thousands of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the land.
My ill conceived idea of Death Valley was about to be ripped from my mind and replaced with something vibrant and beautiful. There was life in Death Valley and the first sign of it came from this small group of flowers boldly rising from the hot sand in stark contrast to the world around it. Each soft colored petal reaching towards the sun like tiny human hands and exclaiming, “Life Prevails!”
The few moments I shared with those little flowers were brief but incredible. What can I say? I really like flowers. I love what they stand for, their color, beauty and their role in nature to reproduce and carry on. An excellent example of Mother Nature doing her finest work!
Ah, but that small group of flowers was nothing compared to what I would find next. I noticed the mountains in the distance had a strange yellow hue that started at their base and ran down through the valley like little speckles of yellow paint. Could all that wonderful color be coming from an entire valley filled with thousands of golden flowers? Yes it could. I was lucky enough to be here during a “super bloom.”
Heavy rains from the previous fall had flooded entire areas of the valley. Each and every place where water ran down the side of the mountains and into the valley floor was now overflowing with an amazing group of wildflowers. Incredible!
I tiptoed through the valley, careful not to step on any of these rare blooming flowers. I wanted to get in there with these little beauties. Once you were in there with the flowers, it was easy to see how everything originated. The flowers were only growing in dry washes. (Areas where water once flowed. )You could follow each little river of flowers as it randomly snaked its way through the valley back towards to mountains where the water began so many months earlier. It was a living painted that only nature could create and I was lucky enough to be standing right in the middle of it!