posted: March 19th, 2016 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: Between wind-swept Dante’s View and the torrid salt flats dramatized by the Devil’s Golf course – located thousands of feet below — Death Valley supports over 1000 species of plants. Realizing that the area in between consists of materials such as iron, aluminum, titanium, hematite and some green chlorite, the tally really should be impressive.
Badwater, as seen from Dante’s View.
In between these two extreme landscapes, the terrain hosts about 1,000 different species of plants.
What’s more, weather is not always conducive to plant growth, a condition that can overlap, for several days ago we struggled for balance as I created the two panoramic images included here. Wind was howling at the Devil’s Golf Course, and a storm was already blowing hard. Off in the distance, Janie and I could see huge clouds of sand swirling about 30 miles in the distance near Stove Pipe Wells. It did not seem like a good day for flowers, nevertheless, right now you cannot travel far in this desert park without seeing huge fields of flowers, and their radiance and breadth draws gasps!
That’s not snow, it’s salt… And it represents the harsh conditions in which Death Valley plants have evolved.
Look closely and you’ll see our truck, here a blue dot. Panoramas create much altered perspectives as in this case.
Actually, I’m about 50 feet away from the truck, but then this is a 180 degree sweep.
Because my two panoramas cover a 180 degree expanse, our truck may be overlooked, but examine the image closely and you’ll see a blue speck. Actually the truck was only 30 feet from the point at which I’m standing. I was trying to PAN with the camera in my cell phone while balanced atop a chuck of salt. Meanwhile, the winds huffed and they puffed requiring that I make several attempts to satisfactorily cover the entire sweep of salt. Though plants don’t grow in this, the Badwater area, they do survive along the edges. Amazing!
L to R: Booth’s Primrose; Desert Chicory; Artist’s Palette.
Over the next few days we’re hoping to find a few plants with interesting histories, such as the Desert-Lavender. According to one of our flower books, data from fossilized pack rat middens provides evidence this species advance into what is now Death Valley during a warming trend. And that trend is ancient, dating back 10,000, which is recognized by geologists as the Holocene.
As you can see we’ve had having fun learning about adaptations some of Death Valley’s one-thousand plants have made.
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NOTE: I’m posting this blog three days after departing Death Valley. To create the few entries I made back in Death Valley, it was necessary to get up at 2 a.m. when pressure on the internet was not so great. However, all that I’ve written above is still applicable. Flowers are still blooming, and it is expected they will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks. Essentially, seeds from flowers higher up and a bit further north are the ones now producing flowers. If you have time, it’s worth the effort, and the bonus is that visitation should be slacking off.
THIS TIME ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy