|Looking southeast from the alluvial fan coming out of Titus Canyon.|
Approaching the junction of the Scotty's Castle Road with Highway 190, things started looking up. (By the way, Scotty's Castle Road was closed to the north while we were there, with no known opening date, as was a good portion of the Badwater Road, so be sure to check road conditions if you go!)
|Looking southeast toward the Black Mountains, with the Badwater Turtleback coming into view beyond a carpet of gold.|
Overall, things did get perceptibly better south of the junction with 190, where we turned on to the Badwater Road.
|Our first view of the Death Valley playa, looking south toward Telescope Peak.|
The vast majority of the color—a bright yellow gold—was from one plant, Geraea canescens, AKA desert sunflower, hairy desert sunflower, or desert gold. (I prefer the latter.)
I didn't take very many closeups of flowers, but I got a good one of the desert gold:
|Desert gold, just north of Furnace Creek on March 1st.|
|Desert gold in a dry wash, with a bit of the Black Mountains in the background.|
|A view of low hills, looking south, from north of Furnace Creek.|
Turtlebacks and the salt flat came back into view.
|The Badwater Turtleback and the Badwater Turtleback fault dominates this view of the Black Mountains range front.|
|Turtleback and superbloom.|
|Desert gold (et al), the Death Valley salt flat, and the Panamint Range.|
|Looking south toward Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.|
We weren't seeing a lot of flowers at this point, although there was still quite a variety, so we turned around.
|I grabbed a photo of this small alluvial fan. You can see some flowers if you look closely.|
|And I took this photo of a desert five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia).|
|Detachment fault with superbloom flowers, one of at least two purple types.|
|Fault plane with desert gold on the fan in front of it.|
|Turtleback fault with various flowers and greenery.|
|Yay! We're there! What's that in the hangingwall???|
If anyone knows of a simple way to change Google's embed code to add a centered location and a height ("z" or "zoom") when embedding a MyMaps map, please let me know. I probably won't be able to use java or other fancy attributes here on this blog. The embed code looks like this:
[iframe height="500" src="https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=z5SoVdoeVNqI.kHrJd949dnkE" width="500"][/iframe]Selected References:
Greene, R.C., and Fleck, R.J., 1997, Geology of the northern Black Mountains, Death Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-79, 110p.
Miller, M.G., and Pavlis, T.L, 2005, The Black Mountains turtlebacks: Rosetta stones of Death Valley Tectonics: Earth Science Reviews, v.73, p. 115-138.
Read more about the "superbloom" here (Geotripper), here (National Geographic), here (NPS), here (Death Valley NPS Facebook page), and here (U.S. News).