As I approached the park I noted there is a lot of ear popping necessary to getting there. Loads of lovely & scenic long distance shots beckoned, although as you can see below, the majesty of distant grandeur does not easily translate into good photos. It's almost like you need a great photographer handling the equipment to capture the 3D quality of far off vistas.
Really, Death Valley could just as well been called Depth Valley.
I barreled down a long descending highway and just as I was starting to note tufts of color, I spotted a gaggle of fellow wildflower enthusiasts. There were even a few birders sprinkled amidst the group.
Hurrah! There was no vast plain filled the horizon with blossoms, but there were loads of bright flowers popped up on the rocky ground.
|The prominent Golden Evening Primroses|
Also called Desert Suncups
|Brilliant Desert Globemallow|
|Mojave Aster - there was only one of these beauties|
|Tiny, but bright-eyed Desert Gold|
|Death Valley Phacelia|
|California Gilia that or very nearly that|
|Flower with a Lacewing friend|
Wildflowers weren't the only things around that begged a name placement. This little fellow landed in front of me and posed - yes, that tiny bright spot of the desert, posed for me.
|a true Lord of the Desert|
My first stop was the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center for my obligatory National Park stamp and cloisonne pin.
Then it was off to the Artist's Drive, a one way drive that winds through some hills that seemed to escalated in color as I drove along. Eons ago, the hills were splattered with mineral laden volcanic ash, which then weathered, creating an artist's palette of colors.
|The colors start to show early on; here reds, greens and creams get a start|
|Bright malachite green outcroppings dot the road|
|Rouge in the Hills|
|At the Artist's Palette Vista|
Had to stare a bit before I noticed a little sign, labeled "Sea Level".
|The Sea Level sign is on the left, just below the center.|
|Bad Water Spreading in the lowest spot in north America|
|More ambitious visitors hiked miles out on Bad Water's alkaline plain|
After sinking - below sea level - I drove up & eastward, to drive the 20 mule team scenic drive. It all looked like an Egyptian landscape to me.
|Sort of like a Sphinx, right?|