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Death Valley
February 2012
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The northern end of Death Valley from Dante's View. I was in shorts, a t-shirt, and a windbreaker, but at this altitude, 5475 feet, it was 32° with howling winds. I didn't linger.
The southern end of the valley.
Badwater Basin from Dantes View.
Intensely salty water along the edges of Badwater Basin.
What's that sign on the cliff above Badwater Basin?
Oh. Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level.
The salt flats of Badwater Basin.
The salt flats of Badwater Basin, roughly five miles across.
The salt flats of Badwater Basin.
In the canyon leading to Natural Bridge.
A dry fall near Natural Bridge.
Natural Bridge. It looks none too stable, with numerous faults and crumbly rocks.
The Devil's Golf Course.
From the far side of the valley, a sandstorm approaches. It caught me 30 minutes later in a side canyon, and filled my eyes and mouth with grit.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
The road to Emigrant Pass. At 5318 feet, it's high enough to have snow at this time of year.
The charcoal kilns at Wildrose. In an hour, I'd gone from sand dunes at sea level to this area, at roughly 6800 feet, that had two inches of fresh snow on the ground.
The broad, sloping plain leading down from Emigrant to the heart of the valley at Stovepipe Wells.
The polished rocks of Mosaic Canyon.
Mosaic Canyon.
The trail through Mosaic Canyon.
Ubehebe Crater, a volcanic remnant whose last eruption may have been as recent as 800 years ago. The white dots at far left are cars in the parking area.
A smaller side crater at Ubehebe.
Erosion along the rim of Ubehebe Crater.
The trail circumnavigates the rim of Ubehebe Crater.
Ubehebe Crater.
A jeep trail through Titus Canyon.
Titus Canyon. The valley has a number of side canyons, all of them twisting, narrow, in shadow even at midday, and bad places to be during the occasional rainstorm.
A roadside scene in the valley.
A roadside scene in the valley.
Cook Bank in Rhyolite, a ghost town just outside the park boundaries.
Train service to Rhyolite is spotty.
Business is a bit slow in Rhyolite.
A roadside scene in the valley.
The Red Cathedral at the head of Golden Canyon.
Climbing out of Golden Canyon towards Manly Beacon.
The trail to Manly Beacon.
Along the trail to Manly Beacon.
Along the trail to Manly Beacon.
Just below Manly Beacon, a spur trail leads to the best picnic spot in the park.
The Furnace Creek Inn clings to the edge of the valley.
In the late 19th Century, borax was mined in the valley, the "mining" consisting of scraping the layers of borax off the valley floor, refining it, and hauling it out in wagon trains like this, pulled by 20-mule teams.
A borax mining cart.
After several years of using 20-mule teams to haul borax, the industry turned to some bizarre forms of steam power.
Borax mining equipment, with ten-foot diameter wheels.
A log cart. Love the alloy wheels.
In the final days of borax mining in the valley, the hauling was done with more conventional steam power.
The first hint of sunrise, from Zabriskie Point.
A few minutes later.
And still a few more minutes later. Surely I'm the only one who has realized that being at Zabriskie Point at sunrise will provide a great photo opportunity...
... or not.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
Sunrise from Zabriskie Point.
The mouth of Fall Canyon.
The trail through Fall Canyon. As was often the case, I had this place completely to myself.
Fall Canyon.
Fall Canyon.
At the head of Fall Canyon, an unclimbable, 20-foot dry fall marks the end of the trail.
Artist's Palette at sunset.
Artist's Palette at sunset. Spot the tourist. Hint: he's wearing red.
Artist's Palette at sunset.
A roadside scene in the valley.
Panamint Valley, parallel to Death Valley, about one-quarter its size, and a thousand feet higher.
The road from Father Crowley Vista down into Panamint Valley.
This road made me regret that I was in a lumbering SUV instead of my own Z4.
Rainbow Canyon, above Panamint Valley.
I wonder if I should have gotten the optional GPS with my rental car? The road from Towne Pass to Panamint Springs.
Along the road to Panamint Springs.
Seen from Towne Pass, the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada loom in the far distance.
A geology lesson in Towne Pass.
Salt Creek, seasonal home to endangered pupfish.
The salt flats of Mustard Canyon.
The salt flats of Mustard Canyon, with various sluggish channels of Salt Creek flowing through.
The salt flats of Mustard Canyon.
A blasé coyote watches me leave the valley.