Death Valley Waters
It's a rare year when there is standing water in the dry former lakebed that is Death Valley. Rain or snow might fall often in the mountains, but only rarely reaches the desert floor of this graben lake remnant.
Yet this winter there has been so much rain all over the West that when I passed through, there were small lakes filling up several of the lowest places in the Valley. So I made several unusual photos in Death Valley on this visit, of the mountains reflecting in standing pools of water; photos that are rare at any time in Death Valley, and doubly rare this year for the wet zones being so widespread.
Most of these pools of water stand well below sea level. Death Valley reaches -282 below sea level at its lowest point, the continent's lowest elevation. Part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, with no outlet to the sea, the waters that pool in Death Valley, or that run off from the mountains, are full of mineral salts leached from the rocks: bitter and undrinkable by humans. Still, these rains mean that the desert will eventually bloom this spring with a carpet of wildflowers.