Arriving in Death Valley as an uncharacteristic super bloom was just beginning was a strange shattering of our expectations. This place that in my mind was a barren land where nothing thrived was instead teeming with life. Rare flowers whose seeds had lain dormant for years were sprouting everywhere, their vibrant colours peppering the otherwise drab landscape. In all honesty my knowledge about Death Valley before we arrived was limited. I’d seen pictures of Artist’s pallet and the infamous race track, but mostly all that came to mind was a bull skull laying in sand (you know the photo I’m talking about). In reality Death Valley was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. This crazy land of extremes- the hottest, driest place on earth, the lowest place in North America-was also a place of many contradictions. The landscape is difficult to live off-that is undeniable- but so many organisms call this place home. Life can blossom here. Far from the unattractive karst park I had expected, Death Valley is full of mountains, multi coloured rock formations, rolling sand dunes, salt flats, historical dwellings, and-of course- thousands of flowers. The night skies here are worthy of an entire blog post of their own. I could have spent weeks exploring- and I hope some day I will.
We entered Death Valley through the Death Valley junction entrance. Armed with the free map and newspaper that you should always get at each national park, we headed down the wide open road into this beautiful wilderness. At this point we foolishly thought we could drive though Death Valley and onto the next spot in a day, but as soon as we reached the Zabriskie point look out I instantly knew we’d be spending the night here. The rolling mountains laid out before us were so inviting. I felt we could happily explore them for days. But that was just the first spot we stopped at in this diverse valley. Every other hike was so different, and everything was strikingly beautiful and awe inspiring in its own way. I’ll be making another post about each hike we did soon, but this is just a quick reflection on the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. If you decide to go there, give yourself time. Trust me when I say you’ll need plenty of it.