Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Death Valley and the SoCal Recent Storms

Being a regular Death Valley visitor – and probably a Death Valley return visitor in the next month or two – I like to keep up with the conditions in the park. If you aren’t familiar with the place you might envision static, hot, dry desert conditions in all seasons. You would be very wrong! I’ve most often visited around the beginning of April and I’ve seen everything from hot (upper 90 degree range) to snow (more than once!) and on several occasions rain and a few memorable dust storms. When rains do occur it isn’t unusual for there to be floods, some of epic proportions. (Within the last decade there have been several very serious floods than have led to major damage and deaths.)

I’ve been thinking about this during the past week’s huge storms in the Southwest – storms that have brought record low pressure systems to much of the area, created tornadoes, dropped snow to low elevations across several states, and dropped a lot of precipitation. Recently, photographer Bob Young shared with me the web address of a great resource for current conditions in the Death Valley area. (Thanks, Bob!)

From the report I read there today, it sounds like the storms hit DV fairly hard. Many (most?) back-country routes have been closed by rain, mud, and/or snow – including some of the popular locations such as Titus Canyon and the Racetrack. I get the impression that some of the low lying areas that can become flooded during wet years may indeed be flooding. While I don’t know the full extent of the conditions, I’m wondering if we might see some interesting and unusual water “events” this year and whether this might produce another exceptional wildflower bloom in a month or two.

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January 23, 2010 Posted by | Places | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two-Heel Drive reports on one of my favorite hiking locations

Tom Mangan just posted a description of his Sunday hike at my favorite local park, the Calero County Park south of San Jose. I was there on Saturday (when it was cool and foggy in the morning, Tom… ;-) and he was there on Sunday after the Great Spring Warmup in Central California.

Tom hiked on some of my favorite trails in the park, including the relatively remote Chisnantuk Peak Trail, which traverses some of the less visited corners of the park (and in doing so passes over some less maintained trails) and also visits some of the open ridges that provide great vistas of Santa Clara County and beyond.

As a bonus, Tom not only writes a witty and informative description of his hike, but he accompanies it with some great photographs of the area, including some of the wildflower displays – which were probably more or less at their peak when he visited

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

California Spring Flowers

Despite the concerns about low rainfall this year in parts of California, there are some hopeful signs of a decent and perhaps even quite good spring wildflower bloom. A few notes:

  • I have visited Muir Woods twice during the past few weeks (some photos at my other site) and last weekend spectacular trillium flowers were just beginning to bloom
  • There have been reports of some very spectacular – though perhaps a bit early – blooms of the California Golden Poppy. One that is getting a lot of attention is in an area of a recent fire along the highway following the Merced River up into Yosemite Valley.
  • Today I saw some fairly good photographs of flowers in the southern California desert, where there actually has been some real rain this season.

For my part, I’m afraid I didn’t get at all so far this weekend to look for flowers – I seem to have a pretty nasty cold!

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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