I will be celebrating a quarter century of life while camping in California’s Death Valley National Park.
Thanks to rains brought on by El Niño, wildflower seeds that normally lay dormant in Death Valley’s inhospitable landscape have sprung up along the valley floor. The last time this happened was in 2005, however, Death Valley has gone hundreds of years at a time without any blooms.
This may very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see life spring from death.
This desert themed episode of Planet Earth shows a time-lapse of the blooms (at minute 43:09):
After watching this episode, I vowed to make it to the next bloom. I set a Google alert for “Death Valley” and “flowers,” but it was actually my boyfriend who alerted me while I was trying to come up with a way to celebrate my birthday.
Death Valley has been deemed the hottest place on the planet. The highest reliably recorded temperature was 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. This valley’s harsh environment and macabre name have always made it a romantic destination in my mind.
My father, on the other hand, remembers his trip to Death Valley as the most unpleasant vacation he ever took with his family. I have black and white photographs of my father as a toddler looking very unhappy in Death Valley.
I’m no desert flower. I didn’t even own a pair of shorts until I started packing for this trip. Thankfully, Goodwill had exactly what I was looking for.
There’s something about National Park vacations that conjure recreation vehicles, high-waisted pants and sensible shoes. In this spirit, I have curated a campy wardrobe for this camping trip inspired by pieces I stole from my parents’ closet.
Vacation Dad Look
Los Gatos hat, Los Gatos Walgreens, Dad’s closet
Red graphic tee, In4mation, Santa Cruz Goodwill
High waisted acid washed denim pants, vintage DKNY, San Francisco Goodwill
Vacation Mom Look
Vintage scarf, Mom’s closet
White button-up sleeveless shirt, Jones & Co., Santa Cruz Goodwill
High waisted denim shorts with front pleats, Dockers, Santa Cruz Goodwill
I may look back on these packing choices with embarrassment but, memento mori, right?