Death Valley is springing to life.
Locals in central California and the National Park Service alike are eagerly anticipating a rare super bloom in the desert, the first of its kind in a decade, ABC News reported.
Ranger Alan Van Valkenburg described the potential super bloom in a video released by NPS as “very rare.”
“These areas that are normally just rock, soil, barren… they’re filled with life. So Death Valley really does go from being a valley of death to being a valley of life … It’s not a permanent thing, it’s just temporary. It’s here for a moment then it fades.”
Right now, the lower flatlands in the 3.4 million-acre park are filling with “desert gold” color, official Linda Slater told the Press Enterprise. Among the blooms: golden evening primrose, purple notch-leaf phacelia, white bunches of brown-eyed evening primrose, and bell-shaped yellow flowers called lesser Mojavea.
“I love to see the desert,” like this, said Utah resident Melissa Hidy, who set up her camera to photograph tall desert cold flowers near a place called Badwater Basin. “It’s like fields of gold everywhere.”
These colorful wildflowers are starting to spread, and will eventually move up the canyon and mountains as spring arrives and brings warm air to the region. Though the display, already astonishing in its beauty, is localized in the southeastern part, everyone is hoping that it will get even better, Fox News added.
There are some signs that a super bloom could be imminent. Firstly, the conditions have been just right to foster one. According to the Weather Channel, a strong El Niño this year has ushered in plenty of rain to the southwest, which helps. The ingredients include perfectly timed rainfall in the winter and spring, the sun’s warmth, and no wind, which would normally dry everything out.
The conditions seem to be working their magic already. The peak blooming periods for wildflowers are mid-February to mid-April, early April to early May, then early May to mid-July. Right now, some flowers are getting ahead of the first peak and opening up early, while some plants that haven’t yet revealed their blooms or are starting to are huge.
According to the Washington Post, some people have reported “mind-boggling” plants, including “Jack-in-the-Beanstalk stems of Desert Gold (and) Notchleaf Phacelia standing nearly three feet high.”
“If you get a chance to see (this) in Death Valley, especially a super bloom, you should take the opportunity to see it,” Van Valkenburg said. “You always get flowers somewhere … almost every month of the year, but to have a big bloom like this, which we hope will become a super bloom — which is beyond all your expectations — those are quite rare. Maybe once a decade or so.”
In fact, Death Valley erupted in such beautiful and widespread color back in 2005. Such an event is hard to predict and fleeting, and so when one is suspected, people dash to the park to see the sight. The last time there was a “big wildflower show,” Slater said, “this place was jammin’.” The park already draws a million visitors a year.
Among those eager to see the super bloom are Trudy Sharpe and Beneth Morrow, who’ve traveled to the park from Las Vegas with their husbands. They witnessed the one in 2005, and visit Death Valley a half dozen times in a good season. Sharpe even records her wildflower sightings in a small, fat notebook; she still has records of what she saw in March 10 years ago.
Hopefully, she’ll get to see another one. Van Valkenburg, who has lived in the area for 25 years, called it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“There are so many seeds out there, just waiting to sprout, waiting to grow.”
[All Photos via National Park Service/Facebook]