The Spring Wildflowers of Death Valley National Park
Whenever a person leaves a National Park such as Death Valley, we tend to take away a little bit of the park with ourselves — and I don’t mean by stuffing one’s pockets with rocks after disturbing protected areas. People are always swiping things, doing stupid stuff, rationalizing to themselves that it’s OK because they are only one person, but it multiplies and, after a while, all of that stupidity adds up to less for anybody else to enjoy. People, as a collective group like the general public, can be disgusting. Like the tourists who steal the moving rocks at The Racetrack, probably because there aren’t any wildflowers to stomp on and destroy.
The stuff we take away from our visits to National Parks like Death Valley is the memories, and our internal connection to the earth in all of its richness, textures and colors remains. Unlike other mountain ranges where moisture is abundant, where trees, wildflowers, vegetation cover the landscape, the mountain ranges in Death Valley lie exposed, uncovered, showing us geological layers, which we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to view under any other circumstances apart from maybe a road cut by a road construction crew.
Between the Panamint Mountains and Black Mountains is the Furnace Creek Inn Resort, and across the road is the Ranch for campers / RVs. The reviews I read before we went made it sound very rustic, but the Furnace Creek Inn is lovely and romantic. The dining is first rate, too. Where else can one sip a pink prickly pear margarita after swimming in a spring-fed pool? Well, there was that one young woman who dove under the water and came up with a long string of snot glued under her nose. After she dipped her head into the pool and emerged a second time, I thought for certain the snot would have vanished, but no, there it was, globby, gooky and icky looking.
I thought about pointing it out to her but then it occurred to me that maybe it was a defect of sorts, perhaps attached to her body, like those bulging veins in a Klingon’s forehead, and to say something would be like calling undo attention to a disabled person’s permanent affliction. If that wasn’t the case, then how else could I politely let her know because she was obviously oblivious. Would I say: “Pardon me, but perhaps you’ve snorted too much coke.” Fortunately, after she dove under the water a third time, the glob had vanished.
I got out of the pool.
That’s one of the drawbacks to being in such a hot and dry climate like Death Valley. Your nose does all sorts of strange things. Below are spring wildflowers of Death Valley in bloom, which I hope will help encourage you to visit this magnificent place.
Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub and Adam Weintraub