Sunday, April 18, 2010

Down Below Sea Level...

Today we went back to Death Valley National Park. We drove Nevada Hwy 372 west to California Hwy 178 and came into the Park on the lower end near Shoshone as we wanted to visit Badwater, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere.

I promised you I'd get some better pictures of the Desert Five-Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia). We saw lots of them today along the roadsides.

This is one of the salt formations not to far from Badwater in an area called the "Devil's Golf Course." It's "an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. So incredibly serrated that only the devil could play golf in such rough links."

We've not seen too many tourists in our wanderings in the area, but we found them today -- all at Badwater Basin! It sounded like the Tower of Babel, many languages and little English. One of the people Forry talked to said that the thermometer in his car was reading 102 degrees! It was so hot and the glare from the white salt was so bright that we decided not to walk out the mile or so on the salt flats to the pond. You can see the salt extending out to the horizon from the sign -- and people w-a-y out in the distance.

The Park's brochure describes Badwater Basin as "a surreal landscape of vast salt flats." It was amazing to see wildflowers blooming right at the edges of the salt.
These little beauties are call Purplemat (Nama demissum). They made carpets of purple flowers going up many of the washes. Today was a purple day with lots of verbena and phacelia as well, interspersed among the fields of yellow.

The literature calls these -- along with lots of other low-growing small flowers -- "belly" flowers. I guess it's because to really appreciate them, you have to get down on their level!

On our way home tonight we finally got to have last night's Mexican dinner in Pahrump at the El Cancun Restaurant. By the time the Mariners game was over last night it was almost nine o'clock, too late to go out!

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen the desert five spot flower. How exquisite!