Brad Templeton's Photography
Death Valley Spring Flowers 2005

Death Valley Spring Flowers 2005

Death Valley was one of the few great California National Parks I had not visited. In particular, I hoped to see the spring bloom. In 2005, the rains were tremendous and generated the largest wildflower bloom in living memory. In some cases seeds dormant for 30 years waiting for the right amount of rain sprung out to cover the floor of the valley. Normally this is one of the world's driest deserts.

Of course, Death Valley has lots of other scenery, but the flowers mostly added to it. By far the most populous flower was the yellow Desert Gold, but fields of white and purple could also be seen. In addition, a large lake formed in the basin at Badwater, the lowest point in North America. This lake is not normally there, so many came out to do strange things in it.

The rest of California is also blooming, so to make it a "Three Flower Tour" we also went through the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and the relatively new Carrizo plain National Monument on the way back, until rainy weather sent us back home.

Of course, I shot a large number of Death Valley Panoramics.

Most of the photos here will feature carpets of flowers. For the bulk that have that as their main emphasis, there are two sections above. But you'll see carpets in many other areas.

There are web sites for flower reports and when we heard the bloom would be so full, we booked some of the last rooms at the Furnace Creek Ranch, and invited other friends to join us. Dan Heller, a fine photographer, joined us with his wife and new son. Others came later.

Each day the bloom changed. We would go north and see a field of flowers that had barely been there the day before. By our third day, the crowds also were going nuts, with traffic jams and no rooms or campsites in or near the park. The bloom will continue until April, moving north and to higher elevations. We were pretty close to the peak.