Spring 2019: Death Valley National Park

Preliminary

This was the first trip where I used an SUV to travel through the backroads of a park.  It opened up a vast amount of territory and expanded my horizons, so much that I spent about four weeks there!  There is so much to see.  What a place.  Hopefully, I’ll have the final version of this page available by early June.

Palm trees  at the Ibex spring.  Many abandoned building hint at the past.
Palm trees at the Ibex spring. Many abandoned building hint at the past.
An abandoned borax mine
An abandoned borax mine
IMG_2282
Here’s a puzzle. How did that yellow truck get there? The nearest road is at least 100 yards uphill. The terrain around it is very rocky; even a jeep might find it hard to navigate.
IMG_2358
Here, the sand seems to flow down the hillsides and valleys as if it were water.
IMG_2547
Permanent wetlands in Death Valley? With cattails and ducks? Why not? Saratoga Spring is must be the most famous of them. But I ran across others on this trip.
The Ibex dunes sit below black mountains.  I like the contrast.
The Ibex dunes sit below black mountains. I like the contrast.
IMG_2682
The locals here are very skittish. They don’t see visitors very often, so they don’t know what to do with them. But what kind of creatures are they? Hint: They’re not in the deer family. BTW, I bet you never expected to see so much green here.
IMG_2704
This is Owl Lake. Here, the lakes often contain water only rarely. The signpost doesn’t say anything.
IMG_2990
The bighorn sheep in the Owlshead region don’t encounter humans very often, so they’re extra skittish.
You won't believe what these White-Lined Sphinx caterpillars will become
You won’t believe what these White-Lined Sphinx caterpillars will become
Would you walk through the door into the mine?
Would you walk through the door into the mine?
Bright green trees announce the presence of a spring
Bright green trees announce the presence of a spring
Would you walk down this hill?
Would you walk down this hill?
There's water here, but would you drink it?
There’s water here, but would you drink it?
Salt Creek flows through this part of Death Valley
Salt Creek flows through this part of Death Valley
IMG_3556
The many colors indicate the mineral deposits in the mountains. It’s easy to see why this area was a hotbed for mining activities.
Yellow flowers seem to flow down the wash
Yellow flowers seem to flow down the wash
A local resident (a sidewinder) greets a visitor
A local resident (a sidewinder) greets a visitor
IMG_3893
On cold nights, a local tradition is to warm up by brewing a kettle of tea. Get yours here. Wanna hear about Crankshaft Junction?
IMG_3995
Two of the famous Sailing Stones of the Racetrack. These two were having a race when I was there. But they make a tortoise seem like a torpedo. P.S. I found the mountains surrounding the Racetrack to be as interesting as the sailing stones.
IMG_4162
Death Valley is hardly the only place in the world with interesting skies, but that did not affect my enjoyment of this sunset.
IMG_4312
Hole-in-the-Wall is an oddity. Imagine a skinny wall stretching for miles to the left and right. Here, in the middle is the “whole.” It’s big enough that they could build a road through it.
IMG_4411
In the desert, rain may fall from the sky, but that does not necessarily mean it will reach the ground.
IMG_4430
Early morning light makes these mountains brown, but during the full light of day, they take on multiple shades of color, mostly grays.
IMG_4494
Two mountain ranges with a salt pan below and blue skies above. What’s not to enjoy. And no trail will take you here.
Lone Joshua trees are hard to find.  This one is in Last Chance Canyon.
Lone Joshua trees are hard to find. This one is in Last Chance Canyon.
How can a heavy tree maintain a hold in that rock at that angle?
How can a heavy tree maintain a hold in that rock at that angle?
IMG_4737
The Eureka Dunes are the highest in Death Valley. In person, they are quite imposing.
IMG_4764
Trees line a dirt road. But is this what you expect from the infamous Death Valley?
Yet another fascinating mountainside
Yet another fascinating mountainside
IMG_4904
Saline Valley Warm Springs stand out in the dry desert. The “Chicken Strip” aka airport sits nearby.
IMG_4973
For me, Salt Lake was a highlight of Saline Valley. But you can’t get this view from a road.
IMG_4984
Another view of Salt Lake. The peach color is part of the water, not the shore. I could not determine its cause, but iot was sure odd.
Ho hum.  More wetlands.
Ho hum. More wetlands.
IMG_5101
Wait a minute here. Cows grazing in a national park? Wait a minute! I bet this was shot along a section of the road which briefly enters Inyo National Forest. OK; don’t look at this picture.
This is just part of a Joshua tree forest in Lee Flat
This is just part of a Joshua tree forest in Lee Flat
Each section of this composite hillside has its own color.
Each section of this composite hillside has its own color.