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Escape to Death Valley: The Superbloom

El Nino has helped create a “superbloom” of wildflowers in Death Valley. About every 10 years or so this rare event takes place and doesn’t last too long. I couldn’t wait to get over there and experience those yellow, pink and purple wildflowers for myself.

Death Valley’s average annual rainfall is 2 inches a year, and sometimes, it gets no rain at all. This season, the park got three big storms in the first two weeks of October, dropping more than 3 inches of rain in some parts of the valley. Gazillions of dormant wildflower seeds sprung to life. The last time there was a bloom of this magnitude was in 2005, and the time before that was in 1998.

The world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on our earth was set in Death Valley with a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. Death Valley’s extremes don’t end there. It’s also home to the lowest elevation in North America in Badwater that’s 282 feet below sea level. Even with these extremes, some wildflowers manage to bloom before it gets really hot but the “superbloom” of flowers this year is very unusual.

As we stopped along the drive over from Lone Pine, my eye was drawn to the individual flowers with their bright colors, nestled in the rocks.

Purples

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Purple Notchleaf Phacelia

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A Closer Look at Purple Notchleaf Phacelia

Yellows

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Desert Gold (Photo by Gail Gilbert)

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Whites

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Rock Daisy (Photo by Gail Gilbert)

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Gravel Ghoast (Photo by Gail Gilbert)

Pinks

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Five Spot

And those combinations!

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The masses of yellow colors were amazing.

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The flowers were everywhere, but we had many more adventures yet to come on our visit to Death Valley.

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If you are on the hunt for the “superbloom” in Death Valley, the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center at Lone Pine is a wonderful resource for folks who wish to know where the best blooms are. It is located about a mile south of Lone Pine at the junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136. Gail had made a stop there before we headed into the park and they gave us wonderful intel on where the best flowers were, along with printing out maps for us and highlighting those areas. They also have an outstanding selection of books and maps of the area, along with T shirts and I even picked up a Mountain Lion pin for my hiking hat!

Sources:

Death Valley National Park

Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center

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