|Photo by Mrs. Geotripper|
There were green shoots covering many of the slopes in the Mojave Desert and Death Valley when we visited on the 13th through the 16th. Only a few of the flowers had bloomed, but another week or two and the desert should be coming alive with color.
|Sand Verbena on an alluvial fan below Jubilee Pass in southern Death Valley|
|My guess? Arizona Popcorn Flower|
I am not at all good at flower identification, so I expect my good friend Jon Mark Stewart will quickly correct my mistakes. He is the author of Mojave Desert Wildflowers and Colorado Desert Wildflowers, two indispensable guides for desert travelers and flower lovers.
|My guess: Yellow Peppergrass|
|I have no idea...|
One of the best early season flower sites in Death Valley is the alluvial fan that extends down to the valley from Jubilee Pass at the south end of the valley. Although the road is paved (it travels from the village of Shoshone to Badwater and on to Furnace Creek), it is far less used by tourists and is usually quiet. We make several important geological stops along this stretch, including a traverse of some of the formations of the Late Proterozoic Pahrump Group. The rocks are around a billion years old, and record the continental divergence that eventually produced the Pacific Ocean.
|My guess is Little Gold Poppy|
The Sand Verbena and poppies were in evidence, as well as the first outliers of the Desert Sunflower aka Desert Gold. This is a site where we have seen incredible flower displays.
I would dearly love to reach Death Valley in another week or two. Darn work and all that!
The picture below was most certainly not what we saw last week. It dates from 2005 when prodigious amounts of rain (and snow!) fell in the Death Valley region, including a lot that fell on us during our trip. Even at this, the season was early and more flowers bloomed in later weeks. It was quite a year.