Chasing the Super Bloom
By Kyle Renzelman | April 10, 2016 7:23 pm
Major rain storms that Death Valley had in October 2015 destroyed roads and flooded Scotty’s Castle. We happened to have driven through Titus Canyon and passed Scotty’s the day before the storms. We camped at Gold Point that night and broke camp as it started to rain. The entire drive back to Las Vegas, we were pounded with rain and started hearing reports of the places we had just been the day before getting washed away. The devastation is still being cleaned up and fixed months later.
The silver lining to the storms is that the ground was primed for a special spring blooming of wild flowers. Nationally, news stories were calling it a Super Bloom. Since we live so close to Death Valley, of course we had to check it out first hand.
When we went, all the reports were indicating that the best of the bloom was in the southern part of the park. The easiest access for us, however was still closed due to washout from the storm. We decided to take the backway into the park on dirt. We turned off the highway onto the dirt at Ibex Road and then turned onto Saratoga Springs Road. We started getting glimpses of the bloom and were already amazed. We stopped at the Saratoga Springs for a short hike and some lunch before continuing on towards Harry Wade Road.
Once on Harry Wade Road the bloom really started to become impressive. The closer we got Badwater road the more expansive the wild flowers. Because there was so much water in the ground the Armagosa River was flowing across Harry Wade Road. You never really expect to have had a water crossing in Death Valley, but sure enough, there it was.
As we pulled on the the pavement at Badwater Road, we saw cars lining the side of the road with tourists snapping pictures left and right. At this point we decided not to stop until we hit the visitor center. At the visitor center we grabbed the little one a junior ranger packet and headed to our camp site for the night. We chose to backcountry camp at the old townsite of Furnace. We made it to camp with a little daylight left and got set up.
The moon was bright all night and create some great opportunity for night photography and light painting.
We headed out in the morning and followed Greenwater Valley Road our to the highway and into Shashone, CA. Greenwater Valley Road was in great shape. There was only one place as we crossed a wash that it was a little sandy and deep, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.
It was a great weekend in Death Valley and I’m glad that we got to see the Super Bloom. While we have seen the bloom many time before, this year was incredible.
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