Thursday, April 14, 2016

Super Bloom, Bellagio, and Ballet

Stopping along the California State Route 190-known as the Death Valley Scenic Byway- to enjoy the Super Bloom in Death Valley National Park. Desert Gold blooms
Spring Break was Spring Bloom this year as we went camping 
at Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek. A very invigorating, pleasant experience.

Huge nest with origami birds.
Tranquil garden at the Bellagio.
I started out in Vegas, where two of my kids live. My daughter and I were going camping. I always visit the Bellagio Conservatory (as y'all know I could give a nerd's tour of Vegas.)
Koi Cam!
Tulips, narcissus and koi!

The theme this spring was a Japanese garden. Cherry blossoms, reflecting pool, but the artistic nest with origami birds was new this year. The koi pond also had a koi cam (so the hammier of the fish good show off, I think.)

Our happy Marmot tent.
Chillaxin' with a good book.

The drive to Death Valley has expansive views, mountains of amazing colors and this year, lots of blossoms. As last year, we camped at Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park, which actually has pleasant, even brusque temps in early spring contrary to its name.

Furnace Creek Visitor's Center.

There is an interesting tourist center nearby.  First day, we drove to Dante's View, with a 5000 ft. view, Zabriski Point with remarkable mountains of color, and the Sand Dunes, with wind-build designs, some of which look like pyramids! But look out for sand storms. All that sand and no ocean. (That's just the California Girl in me speaking.)

Dante's View, Death Valley National Park. We can see the Salt Flats down below, but we didn't see Dante.
Zabriski Point
Mesquite Sand Dunes

Families from around the world come to visit these sites. It is
exhilarating and fun to be in such expansive vistas.

Look up--there's Dante's Peak from the Salt Flats.

Palette of earth tones for sure.
The following day, we went -282 feet below sea level to the Salt Flats we had seen from above. You could say, we looked at Death Valley from both sides now!
On the way back to camp, we meandered through Artist's Palette.
More lovely rock colors. 
Intrepid explorers.

Mornings in nature--the best.

In the morning it sounded like we camped in an aviary--so many lively birds greeting with chirpy songs. But it was time for the happy campers to head home.
As travelers know, there are always interesting off-the-beaten-path spots to see. At Death Valley Junction, as we drove back to Vegas, my daughter wished to stop at Amargosa's Opera House. It is truly in the middle of nowhere. Not only did we find an Opera House, but ballet, an artist's gallery, and a miniature train representation of Death Valley's mining history.

Gunsite Mine!

Ballet in the desert!
This is artist Beverly Slikker in her gallery. She is a highly recognized artist. You can get her book My Art Walk to the Contemporary Masters

 The ballerina Jenna McClintock recreates the work of a previous dancer at the Opera House, Marta Becket. There is a nice restaurant and dining room, plus museum.
The railroad has quite a history in the desert, too, associated with mining. We found the model railroad at the Home of the T and T Railroad Museum.

Lots blooming this spring in Death Valley--flowers, the fine arts, history,
and folks' love of grand nature.

Super Bloom! at 5,000 ft Dante's View, Death Valley National Park Notchleaf Phacelia Crenulata

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