Topic: A day of surprising wildflowers on America's Public Lands
As with every #NatureWritingChallenge, this post was created, edited, and uploaded within an hour.
Who knew the desert could bloom, and why didn't you tell me!?
It was 2008 and my two great friends and I were on a road trip to see the west. I've talked about these road trips in numerous blog posts, but they're an important part of my love for public lands and road trips. We had taken a trip in 2007 and stopped at a few cool places, but wanted more out of this year so we planned some major stops. We started in the Pacific Northwest and made our way down the coast through the Redwoods and over to Sequoia/Kings Canyon and on to Death Valley.
None of us had been to Death Valley, nor the other places on the list, so this was a first-time experience for us all. We entered the park, with views of mountains and started descending. The views on the way in were as if we had been transported to another planet. It went from giant trees to desert with snow capped mountains in the background so quickly. We stopped early on to take some photos and so my friend could check out the dirt - he was a geology major and is now a geologist. From there we went down to sea level, and of course stopped for a picture. From there we kept going down, with plans to stop at the historical sites along the way to Badwater Basin. As we stopped to take it all in, we realized we were in the midst of a desert bloom (or whatever we called it in 2008).
In my current state of being, I know what a desert bloom is. I see all of the photos from the California desert and high desert areas in other states all spring long. Back then, before even researching a road trip destination too much, I had absolutely NO IDEA what a desert bloom was or that it could even happen at this level. We had stumbled upon, what I now realize, a brief window in time when people plan for and take vacation time to see what Mother Nature can do with colors in the desert. It was gorgeous! Yellow flowers across the desert, with snow capped mountains in the background. Simply amazing and unexpected. I look back at the photos, trying to remember what I was thinking and can only imagine it wasn't much. I'm not sure in 2008 we appreciated it as I would today, but I know it caught our eye and offered a nice experience nonetheless. I can't say the photos we took in 2008 do it any justice, but it was very windy and we didn't quite try too hard.
Nowadays, I look forward to the time I'll be able to make a trip to the desert when the flowers are blooming and hope to do it soon. Enjoy these photos from the surprising and unexpected desert bloom of 2008 in Death Valley National Park. May you find some flowers this spring, wherever you are!