PART 1: The Amargosa River Flowing in the Depths of Death Valley: Something I haven't seen before!
2005 may be the best year for wildflowers in the Mojave Desert in about seventy years. One reason: a wet winter, breaking records in the region, especially in northern Baja California, Mexico, and in Southern California, USA, where there is much flood damage.
Inland, in Arizona and southern Nevada, rainfall records have also been reset. All of this has allowed seeds to germinate that have lain dormant for years, and the result is promising to be spectacular in the Mojave desert.
I am starting this set of pages in February already, because in the lower lying areas (near the Colorado River and in Death Valley for example), there are already some areas in bloom. My plan is to follow the bloom areas as they reach higher in elevation as Winter ends and Spring comes.
The last great flower year was 2001, and I devoted many pages to the Mojave Desert's wildflowers then. This year the flowers may be even better in nature, but on my web site they may not be quite as extravagant because of work and travel schedules. But what I do get to catch on camera should be at least as good as it was in 2001.
So, expect flower pages to be added all during Spring.
One thing I have shown before is the course of the Amargosa River which is the river that fills Lake Manly in Death Valley, a lake that exists only during ice ages.
Here is the Amargosa River again in 2005, with a sizable flow below sea level, moving into the deepest part of Death Valley. Note the greenness of the hills in the background, and the wetness of the river-current-rippled sediments in the foreground (the river was very wide, and not long ago!):
Next, a better view of the river and just a few flowers:
Now a picture to help appreciate the volume of water still coming down the valley:
The next two pictures show the river moving further north into the lowest part of the valley, from the same location:
Being a sucker for wildflowers, this scene to the right of the bush above couldn't be passed up:
A mile or so from where the above photos were taken were the Ashford Mill ruins. It was here that some years ago I was taking a picture of the sand where the river runs, and a man asked me what I was photographing. I told him "the Amargosa River" and he laughed. Well, this time I saw water, it is a river, a real one:
From the ruins, this is looking south with the river flowing toward us:
Looking southwest, the river flows down away from us to the right. The green hills in the background are the same ones seen in the photos above on the banks of the river, but about two miles further into the valley:
The flowers around the mill were very pleasant to look at, as were the hills and mountains with their black and red colors:
And lastly for this section, the sunlight playing on the hills to the east was hard to catch in a photo, but impressive with the yellows of fields of flowers shining brightly through the sun's glare on a few hills, with all the rest of the view in cloud-shade: